Major winner Wie primed for Arkansas assault


Rogers (United States) (AFP) - Michelle Wie will try to follow up her first major title win with another strong performance at the LPGA Tour's Arkansas Championship which begins Friday at the Pinnacle Country Club.

The 24-year-old American claimed her first major championship at Pinehurst on Sunday, beating reigning Women's British Open champ Stacy Lewis by two strokes.

Wie, who is ranked seventh in the world, will be one of the stars teeing it up at the Arkansas event as she is paired in the first round with South Korea's Ryu So-Yeon and American compatriot Paula Creamer.

Wie's victory Sunday was followed by a whirlwind media tour of New York.

"I was just so happy to get on a plane to Arkansas so I could just play some golf," Wie said. "It was a lot of fun, but I’m really happy to be here. I feel extremely lucky."

Wie started out her career as a precocious teen trying to prove she could play with the men before she had even won a full tournament as a junior golfer.

She is hoping that her victory at the US Women's Open means she has finally turned the corner.

"Hopefully better things will happen, more great things, and I’m really excited for the future," said Wie, who posted her first win in 38 major appearances.

The Arkansas event is the eighth stop on the LPGA Tour and world number one Lewis will be the crowd favourite this weekend. Lewis, who made a final round charge at Pinehurst with a 66, attended the University of Arkansas.

"I come back here every year, and I seem to kind of move up the rankings every year," Lewis said. "Coming back is always special.

"It is great to get back and see a lot of family and friends that I haven't seen in a while. It definitely gets crazier, it doesn't get any easier coming back.

"I love playing this golf course and I know it like the back of my hand, so I don't have to practise on it a whole lot this week."

Lewis is making her eighth appearance at this tournament and has three top-10 finishes with her best being a tie for fourth in 2013. Lewis will play in a group with Lydia Ko and Jessica Korda.

World number two Park In-Bee will be making her fourth title defence of the 2014 season.

She is trying to find her form after finishing tied for 43rd at the US Open.

Four other former champions are also in the field including Lee Seon-Hwa, Tseng Ya-Ni and Ai Miyazato.

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