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An emotional Michelle Wie West enjoys magical ending at US Women’s Open on her last competitive appearance

<i>Ezra Shaw/Getty Images</i><br/>Michelle Wie West won the US Women's Open in 2014.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Michelle Wie West won the US Women's Open in 2014.

By Aimee Lewis, CNN

(CNN) — There was emotion aplenty at Pebble Beach on Friday as golf great Michelle Wie West bade farewell to the sport after failing to make the cut at the US Women’s Open.

It was perhaps fitting that Wie West, a trailblazer in the women’s game, played this historic event, the first time a women’s major has been held on the famous Californian course.

In front of her family and friends, including her three-year-old daughter, the 33-year-old enjoyed a sweet finish, sinking a 30-foot putt for par on the 18th to card 14-over par after two rounds. She missed the cut by eight shots after two consecutive scores of 79.

Despite struggling in both rounds, the long putt was nevertheless a magical end to the American’s career, a final flourish from a woman who was once the face of the sport, a prodigy who achieved much but arguably leaves the game with fewer wins, particularly majors, than her career once promised.

“Making that long putt on 18 definitely was a sweeter sendoff,” she told reporters afterwards while holding her daughter, Makenna.

Wie West has lived much of her life in the public eye. At 13, she became the youngest woman to make the cut at an LPGA tournament, the prestigious Kraft Nabisco Championship.

And at the 2004 Sony Open she became only the fourth – and youngest – female to play on the men’s PGA Tour. She turned professional a year later, just shy of her 16th birthday, and won her only major – the US Women’s Open – in 2014.

Presented with a bouquet of flowers by USGA chief executive Mike Whan near the 18th at Pebble Beach, Wie West appeared to become tearful and later admitted she had struggled with her emotions throughout the round.

“I’ve definitely held back tears the entire round,” Wie West, who announced last year that this tournament would be her last competitive one, said. “Everything was just incredible.”

“It feels like nothing has changed and everything was changed all at once,” she added. “It’s definitely a strange and surreal feeling.”

Playing alongside the American was three-time US Women’s Open winner Annika Sorenstam, another great of the game.

Sorenstam, who has not played fulltime since 2008 but received an exemption to play at Pebble Beach, also failed to make the cut and the pair embraced on the 18th.

This too could be Sorenstam’s final major – she has said this would be her last US Women’s Open. The 52-year-old Swede also carded 79 on Friday, finishing with a double bogey on the 18th to miss the cut by nine shots.

“I thought my last [U.S. Women’s Open] would be in 2008,” she said, per the LPGA. “But then with everything that kind of came about with Will [son] ]loving the game so much and COVID and me turning 50, all of a sudden, I started to play a little bit, and then getting the exemption here.

“But being part of this tournament has meant a lot to me. To see how far women’s golf has come the last few years by playing courses like this, I’m hoping there are young girls around the world watching this championship and dreaming about one day playing on the LPGA or in a USGA championship. I think that’s what’s so nice about being a part of this event.

“Having said that, I know this is my last one. But it’s been great to be here and really feel now that they’ve elevated the championship to a different level. We’ve played some great courses in the past, no doubt about it, but this is such a course. People are flying around the world to come here and play.”

America’s Bailey Tardy, the world No.455, takes a two-shot lead into Saturday’s third round on seven under, one of just six players to be under par after a difficult two rounds for many players.

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