Michelle Wie's (search) dream of making the Masters ended relatively early. Clay Ogden (search) birdied four of the first five holes and never came close to losing his lead, handing the 15-year-old high school junior a 5-and-4 loss Friday in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Public Links (search).
"Obviously, I'm disappointed, but it's not the end of the world," Wie said.
Just the end of her quest for the Masters, at least for now.
Wie needed to win the men's Public Links to become the first woman to get an invitation to the Masters. Since 1989, every winner has been invited to Augusta National (search).
Wie became the first woman to qualify for a men's USGA event when she made it into this field by tying for medalist at an 85-player qualifier. Then she shot rounds of 76 and 72 on Monday and Tuesday to make the 64-player field for match play. She dispatched her opponents in her first three matches before running into Ogden, a junior at Brigham Young University from West Point, Utah.
"I don't feel like I have proved anything," she said.
Ogden was 4 up after the first five holes and never let up.
"You've got to keep the gas on and keep it going," Ogden said.
The lead swelled to 5 up at the turn when Wie's approach at No. 9 hit a tree and bounced back into a lake. It was one of the few mistakes she made.
"It's hard to beat birdies," Wie said. "It wasn't like I was playing bad. I was losing with a lot of pars. He played really great."
She won her only hole when Ogden bogeyed No. 10, but Ogden came right back with a birdie to win the 11th and closed out the match three holes later.
On the deciding hole, Ogden missed the green, but his chip from the rough landed softly on the green and rolled to less than a foot from the pin. Wie conceded the putt and the two shook hands.
Asked what she learned from the match, Wie said, "You have to make lots of birdies and give your opponent no chance."
Ogden relied on his experience. He lost to eventual champion Ryan Moore 2-and-1 a year ago in the quarterfinals. His victory over Wie moved him into a semifinal against University of Wisconsin junior Garrett Jones, who defeated Indiana University senior Brad Marek, 4-and-3.
Several hundred people again followed Wie everywhere she went, cheering on every one of her shots and groaning when her putts slid past the hole. There was a smattering of applause when Ogden missed his par putt at No. 10.
Ogden said he wasn't nervous playing against Wie or bothered by the crowd.
"That's just my demeanor," he said. "I never get too excited over anything."
Ogden quieted Wie's backers on the first hole. From the fairway, he hit his second shot on the par-5 hole into the rough just left of the green. He then chipped within inches of the pin. Wie conceded his birdie putt.
Meanwhile, Wie caught a bad break when her second shot not only went into a greenside bunker but ended up caked with wet sand. She blasted out into another greenside bunker, then hit onto the green 20 feet past the pin to lose the hole.
At the second, Ogden hit a 5-foot birdie putt.
After the two traded pars, Ogden rolled in a 6-foot putt at No. 4 and a 10-footer at the signature 5th hole for birdies to go 4 up.
Through those opening five holes, Ogden hit every fairway and every green in regulation. For her part, Wie was seldom in trouble but found herself far behind.
"He played amazing with those four birdies on the first five holes," Wie said. "He played awesome today. There was really no room for error."
The week at the Public Links was just the latest of Wie's adventures. The 6-footer barely missed making the cut at two PGA Tour (search) events, and was tied for the lead at the U.S. Women's Open earlier this month before faltering in the final round.
Wie travels to France for the Evian before playing in the Women's British Open, then said she will have some time off before starting her school year.
She was asked if she would make a decision soon about turning pro.
"No, but you are going to find out when I do," she said.