UPDATE 1-Golf-Nine an ugly number for Wie at U.S. Women's Open

Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:15pm BST

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(updates at end of round)

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

EDINA, Minnesota, June 26 (Reuters) - Michelle Wie suffered a bruising experience on one of Interlachen's severely sloping greens en route to an eight-over-par 81 at the U.S. Women's Open on Thursday.

Playing her fourth LPGA Tour event of the year, Wie ran up an ugly nine at the par-four ninth after taking six shots to find the hole from tangly rough behind the green.

The 18-year-old American also piled up five bogeys and two birdies to end the first round a distant 14 strokes behind early leader Oh Ji-young of South Korea.

"I had a couple of bad holes but I'm more than confident I can spring back tomorrow and shoot a low score," Wie told reporters.

"Look how many iron shots I hit close today. I left at least four or five birdie putts out there and very makeable putts. My putting let me down a little bit but I'm feeling very confident over the tees and I'm very confident over the second shot.

"The one glaring thing is the ninth hole," added Wie of her start at the third women's major of the season. "If I par that or birdie that tomorrow I'll be pretty good."

After pushing her tee shot at the 413-yard ninth under trees in the right rough, Wie punched her second across the fairway into the left rough, well short of the elevated green.

STATUESQUE HAWAIIAN

The statuesque Hawaiian struck her third shot low, the ball shooting across the putting surface and nestling in thick rough behind the green.

She then duffed her fourth, advancing the ball only a yard, before taking out her putter and rolling the ball down the slope and off the front of the green into more rough.

Attempting a delicate chip with her sixth, she watched as her ball narrowly cleared the crest of the green before stopping and rolling back toward her feet.

Wie hit a more aggressive chip for her seventh, landing the ball beyond the hole and using the contours of the green to leave herself a five-foot putt for an eight.

She narrowly missed that before tapping in for a nine and wearily trudging off toward the 10th tee.

"Nine was a blur," said Wie, who had to qualify after being troubled by a wrist injury throughout 2007. "I had trouble counting how many strokes I had.

"But it was just one bad hole and it's a U.S. Open. It will bite you in the butt."

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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