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Wie fit and ready to fire in Adelaide

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New clubs and a new putting grip has American golfer Michelle Wie poised to put the troubles of 2016 behind her.

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The former US Open champion, who has slumped to 182 in the rankings, will play in the LPGA event the ISPS Handa Australian Open this week in Adelaide.

Wie, 27, hit the Royal Adelaide course yesterday, armed with the new claw putting grip she has adopted in favour of the “tabletop” stance, which she has used for the past three years – including at the opening LPGA event of 2017 in the Bahamas where she missed the cut.

“My coach (David Leadbetter) and I have been working on it and just trying to be a little bit more flowing, a little more athletic,” she said.

“I stuck with the tabletop for very long and you know, sometimes you just need a different feel and just try and get out and it feels comfortable.”

After much searching, Wie has settled on a version of The Claw, not dissimilar to the grip used by Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia.

“I’ve tried every single type of claw in the last two weeks when I was practising, but it feels good,” she said.

“You should see my research searches, I Googled every one and I liked Phil’s claw, Sergio’s claw.

“It kind of is fun to try out different grips – it’s amazing how you can make putts doing pretty much anything, but this feels most comfortable to me and, we’ll see.”

The 2014 US Open champion has also recently changed golf clubs to Callaway after using Nike equipment since she was 14.

Following an injury plagued 2016, which coincided with a form slump, Wie said she was completely injury free.

She said her two practice rounds so far at Royal Adelaide opened her eyes to the “fantastic” Par 73 layout.

“It’s a little bit link-sy. It’s simple but challenging, yet every hole’s a little bit different and I think it’s all going to depend on conditions,” she said.

“If the course gets a little bit firmer and the wind comes up, it’s going to be a very good full golf course.”

The field for the event also includes the world’s top two ranked players Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn along with defending champion Haru Nomura and exciting Canadian teenager Brooke Henderson.

The Aussies will also have a strong representation led by Karrie Webb, Minjee Lee and Sue Oh in what is being billed as one of the strongest women’s fields ever assembled Down Under.

The tournament begins tomorrow. Wie will play with fellow Americans Mariah Stackhouse and Angel Yin in the opening two rounds.

-AAP

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