SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (AFP) — Michelle Wie, who appeared to play her way into contention for a first career LPGA title on Saturday, instead saw her hopes crushed with a disqualification from the State Farm Classic.
The 18-year-old from Hawaii was disqualified following the third round on Saturday for failing to sign her scorecard after Friday's second round, the LPGA said.
As a result of the oversight, Wie's five-under third-round effort, which included seven birdies and briefly left her one shot behind Taiwanese teenager Yani Tseng, was wiped out.
Instead of challenging for the crown on Sunday, Wie will again be on the sidelines, another disappointment in the rocky road she has travelled since breaking her wrist last year.
Tseng, meanwhile, will be trying to build on her major triumph at the LPGA Championship last month.
"Winning the LPGA Championships has given me a lot of confidence," said Tseng, whose round included four birdies and an eagle without a bogey. "Now I go out knowing I can win."
Tseng carded her third straight 66 for 198 and was two strokes in front of Katie Futcher.
South Koreans Hee-Won Han and Ji-Young Oh were a further shot back on 201.
Her round was highlighted by an eagle at the par-five sixth, which was followed by a birdie at the seventh.
Tseng came within inches of a hole-in-one at the par-three 14th, where her tee shot spun back just short of the cup. She got up and down fir birdie at 16.
"I hit it very solid with my irons," the 19-year-old said. "I feel very comfortable.
Futcher also posted a 66 for 200, while Han fired a tournament-best 61 to join Oh (69).
American Christina Kim, who led after each of the first two rounds, slipped six adrift after a 73.
Wie, who started the day one shot behind Kim, took the lead with birdies at the first two holes and picked up another stroke at the sixth before a bogey at No.7.
She birdied four in a row from the 10th, but won't get a chance to build on that momentum on Sunday.
Wie, who has made headlines with her avowed aim of playing on the men's tour and with her precocious move to the professional ranks, had seven top 10 finishes in majors between 2003 and 2006.
However, her best finish in the last two seasons on the LPGA Tour was a tie for 24th in last month's Wegmans tournament. She finished sixth in last month's German Open on the Ladies' European Tour.
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