KOCHI, Japan (AP) – Michelle Wie is clear on one thing she wants to do when she plays against men at the Casio World Open – avoid disqualification.

The $1.17 million tournament, the next-to-last event on the Japanese men’s tour, is Wie’s first since she was disqualified last month in her pro debut.

At the LPGA Tour’s Samsung World Championship, Wie was cited for signing an incorrect scorecard after dropping her ball closer to the hole. The LPGA said she should have added two strokes to her third-round 71.

“I learned a lot from that experience,” Wie said. “I learned that even the smallest of things can turn into a big problem.”

Swing coach David Leadbetter, who is traveling with Wie in Japan, was impressed with the way the 16-year-old Hawaiian conducted herself after the disqualification.

“I thought she handled it incredibly well,” Leadbetter said. “She didn’t feel she had done anything wrong, and I thought they were being a little harsh on her.”

Wie hopes to erase those memories with a strong performance in Japan.

She will be making her sixth start in a men’s professional tournament.

She has failed to make the cut in three PGA starts, a Nationwide event and a Canadian tournament.

Sophie Gustafson missed the cut in the 2003 Casio tournament, the only other time a female player has appeared in a top Japanese men’s tour event.

Wie played in a pro-am event Wednesday at the Kochi Kuroshio Country Club. In Thursday’s opening round, Wie will be paired with Japanese veterans Taichi Teshima and Shinichi Yokota.

Wie said the key to playing well would be hitting the fairways and making the big putts.

“There are a couple of really long holes here and it’s important to hit the fairways around the greens and putt well,” she said.

AP-ES-11-23-05 1303EST


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