NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C., May 15 (UPI) -- Michelle Wie. the 12-year-old who earlier this year became the youngest Monday qualifier for an LPGA event, will be part of the field for the Asahi Ryokuken Championship, which begins Thursday at the Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club.
Wie, a native of Hawaii who is competing on a sponsor's exemption, shot rounds of 74 and 72 at the season-opening LPGA Takefuji Classic in Hawaii to miss the cut by two strokes. She has left school for two weeks to compete in this event and U.S. Open qualifying.
The youngster, who made the long trip from Hawaii over the weekend, won the 2002 Hawaii State Amateur Stroke-Play championship. She has set her sights on making the cut.
Shinobu Moromizato, a 15-year-old who is Japan's top amateur, also is here on a sponsor's exemption.
If Wie and Moromizato are looking for a golf education, they need only watch Annika Sorenstam, who heads the field for the 72-hole, $1.25 million event.
The Swedish superstar outdueled former champion Pat Hurst down the stretch Sunday to capture the Electrolux USA Championship and her 34th LPGA title. The $120,000 first prize pushed her tour-leading total to $686,242.
Sorenstam has won three times in seven starts this year and also took the Australian Masters.
Germany's Tina Fischer won the inaugural tournament here for her first LPGA Tour title, edging Emilee Klein and Tracy Hanson by a stroke. Sorenstam finished two strokes off the pace in a tie with Lorie Kane of Canada.
Fischer, a non-exempt tour member last year, is the only German player to win on the LPGA Tour. But she has managed to earn just $17,222 in eight LPGA events this year.
Several other players could become the first player from their country to win an LPGA title. The list includes Becky Morgan of Wales and Stefania Croce of Italy.