Michelle Wie set for Kia Classic

Posted March 23, 2011, at 10:15 p.m.

INDUSTRY, Calif. — Michelle Wie has been too busy with finals at Stanford to have a problem with the LPGA Tour’s light early schedule.

“For me, it didn’t seem so slow because I had finals last week and I’ve been going to school,” Wie said Wednesday, a day before the start of play in the Kia Classic. “So, it’s been really busy for me.”

Wie won the Canadian Women’s Open last season for her second LPGA Tour title. She has played two of the first three events this year, finishing second last month in the season-opening event in Thailand and 40th the following week in Singapore.

“I worked really hard this offseason to get healthy and to get better,” Wie said. “I think right now I’ve been working on everything. If I work on one thing, then another thing fails.”

The Kia endorser is playing the Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms for the first time.

“It’s pretty tough,” Wie said. “It’s a good golf course. It’s tricky.”

The tournament is the tour’s first in the Los Angeles area in six years. Last year at La Costa in Carlsbad, Hee Kyung Seo won her first LPGA Tour title, beating Inbee Park by six strokes.

The top 14 players in the world ranking are in the field, led by No. 1 Yani Tseng. She won in Thailand and has three other worldwide victories this year.

“It’s really tough,” Tseng said about the course. “I know it’s going to be a really tough course to shoot a low score. I’m just going to be patient.”

Karrie Webb has won the last two tour events. On Sunday in Phoenix, she rallied to win the LPGA Founders Cup for her 38th LPGA Tour victory.

“It’s just really a fine line,” the Hall of Famer said. “I don’t have a specific answer. I could have played exactly the way I have for two weeks and finished second both times. It’s just that sort of fine line.

“I think I’m just on the right side of that, doing the right things at the right time. Getting up and down when I need to, and making a birdie putt to keep some positive momentum going. I think I’ve lacked that a little bit in the last year or two.”

The Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the season, is next week at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The tour will then be off five of the next six weeks.

“It’s a big tournament for everybody,” U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer said. “It’s right before our first major of the year. It’s a great golf course; it’s a tough golf course. Depending on the weather, it’s not going to be a real low winning score.”

Creamer was paired with NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya in the pro-am round Wednesday. Montoya is in the area for the Sprint Cup race Sunday in Fontana.

“He’s a really nice guy,” said Creamer, coming off a second-place finish in Phoenix. “He’s a good player as well. It’s cool to intermix with other athletes.”

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