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PINEHURST, N.C. -- The road Michelle Wie took to a U.S. Womens Open title was unlike any other, and suddenly insignificant. Whether this was a long time coming was the least of her cares. The biggest star in womens golf had her name on the biggest trophy. She never looked happier. "Oh my God, I cant even think straight," Wie said Sunday after a two-shot victory over Stacy Lewis to claim her first major. The final three holes at Pinehurst No. 2 were filled with ups and downs that Wie knows as well as anyone in golf. She responded with a performance worthy of the hype that had been heaped on her since she was a teenager. With a three-shot lead on the 16th hole, Wie nearly threw it all away with one poor decision, only keeping the lead by making a nervy 5-foot putt for double bogey. And right when it looked as though this would end badly, the 24-year-old from Hawaii responded with the putt of her life that made her a Womens Open champion. Facing a 25-foot birdie putt on 17 that was fast and dangerous, Wie pumped her fist when it fell, then pounded her fist twice to celebrate the moment. "That kind of emotion, that kind of pressure ... Ill think of that putt as one of the best putts Ive ever hit in my life," she said. A par on the 18th gave her an even-par 70 to beat Lewis, the No. 1 player in womens golf who made Wie earn it. Lewis made eight birdies -- the most in a final round by a male for female in the U.S. Open -- and closed with a 66. Sixteen-year-old Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., shot a 69 in the final round to finish in a tie for 10th place. Lewis was on the range preparing for a playoff when her caddie told her Wie made birdie on the 17th. Moments later, Lewis was on the 18th green to hug Wie. Like most players, she was perplexed why Wie would spend so much time trying to compete against the men when she still didnt have an LPGA Tour card. They are friends now and practice frequently. Lewis said she wasnt the last bit surprised that Wie delivered such a clutch moment. "I think that scene on 18, being on network TV, as many people as we had around there at Pinehurst No. 2 and Michelle Wie winning the golf tournament, I dont think you can script it any better," Lewis said. "I think its great for the game of golf. I think its even better for womens golf. Im so happy for Michelle Wie. I mean this has been such a long time coming for her." Wie had chance to win this title when she was a 15-year-old amateur at Cherry Hills, and a 16-year-old pro at Newport. The last time she was in this area, she opened with an 82 at Pine Needles in 2007 and walked off the course the next day because of injuries. She had been one of the biggest stars in womens golf since she was 13 and played in the final group of a major. Her popularity soared along with criticism when she competed against the men on the PGA Tour while still in high school and talked about wanting to play in the Masters. That seems like a lifetime ago. The 6-foot Wie is all grown up. She is a Stanford graduate, popular among pros of both genders, and now a major champion. "I cant believe this is happening," Wie said. It almost didnt. Just like her so much of her life, the path included a sharp twist no one saw coming. Wie started the final round tied with Amy Yang, took the lead when Yang made double bogey on No. 2 and didnt let anyone catch her the rest of the day. In trouble on the tough fourth hole, she got up-and-down from 135 yards with an 8-iron into 3 feet. Right when Lewis was making a big run, Wie answered by ripping a drive on the shortened par-5 10th and hitting a cut 8-iron into 10 feet for eagle and a four-shot lead. She had not made a bogey since the first hole -- and then it all nearly unravelled. From a fairway bunker on the 16th, holding a three-shot lead, she stayed aggressive and hit hybrid from the sand. "I was kind of a dummy for not laying up when I was in that situation," she said. "And it kind of bit me in the butt. But I laughed it off. Stuff like that does happen." The only time panic began to set in was when no one could find her ball. It finally was located after a three-minute search, buried in a wiregrass bush. She quickly and wisely took a penalty drop behind her in the fairway to limit the damage, chipped to about 35 feet and ran that putt some 5 feet by the hole. Miss it and she would be tied. Bent over in that table-top putting stance, she poured it in to avoid her first three-putt of the week. Smiling as she left the green, she hit 8-iron to 25 feet and delivered a putt that will surely rank among the highlights in U.S. Womens Open history. Wie finished at 2-under 278, the only player to beat par in the second week of championship golf at Pinehurst. Martin Kaymer won by eight shots last week at 9-under 271, the second-lowest score in U.S. Open history. Juli Inkster, playing her 35th and final U.S. Womens Open, closed with a 75 to tie for 15th. She received the loudest ovation of the week walking up the 18th, until Wie arrived as the winner. What a journey. "I think that without your downs, without the hardship, I dont think you appreciate the ups and much as you do," Wie said, the gleaming trophy at her side. "I think the fact that I struggled so much, the fact that I kind of went through a hard period of my life, the fact that this trophy is right next to me, it means so much more to me than it ever would have when I was 15. "I feel extremely lucky." Darwin Thompson Jersey . 1 goaltender tonight when they conclude a four-game road trip versus the Winnipeg Jets. Cam Erving Jersey . The Pope greeted Klose at his general audience Wednesday and the pair had a long chat. Klose is German like the pope, although he was born in Poland. 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Tomas Tatar scored twice for Red Wings (2-3-0), Jonathan Ericsson added a goal and Gustav Nyquist had three assists.Hot Springs, AR (SportsNetwork.com) - Dont Tell Sophia and Kiss Moon are likely to meet up in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 10. Dont Tell Sophia, trained by Phil Sims, is already at Oaklawn for the upcoming 2015 meeting while Kiss Moon will join trainer David Vances contingent on Feb. 1. She looks great right now, said Sims, who also co-owns Dont Tell Sophia. Shes all dappled out. Well try the series of stakes here again and see how it goes, Well take her through the series here, and if she does well, well give her the summer off and then bring her back for a few races in the fall. That will be it. Dont Tell Sophia showed great liking to the Oaklawn surface in 2013. She won the Pippin and Bayakoa Stakes with a second in the Azeri and third in the Apple Blossom. This year she came back to take both the Pippin and Bayakoa with a third in the Azeri. She missed this years Apple Blossom withh a quarter-crack.dddddddddddd The 6-year-old mare earned $909,597 this year, putting her career earnings at $1,382,479. The stakes series for older females begins with the Pippin on Jan. 17 followed by the $100,000 Bayakoa, Feb. 15; $300,000 Azeri, March 14 and $600,000 Apple Blossom on April 10. Kiss Moon will make her 2015 debut in the Apple Blossom Handicap after being sent to Hermitage Farm in Kentucky in early December. That will give me seven, eight, nine weeks to get her ready, Vance said. The 3-year-old filly posted a third in the Honeybee Stakes and a second in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn this year. She then won a pair of grass stakes in the Hatoof Stakes at Arlington Park and the TaWee Stakes at Indiana Grand. She had a great year, Vance said. I think Kiss Moon is probably better on turf, but she had no problem on this surface, Owned by breeder Carl Pollard, Kiss Moon won three of 11 starts in 2014 for $275,716. ' ' '
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