. Michelle Wie to celebrate 18th birthday at LPGA's Samsung World Championship

Michelle Wie, who hasn't competed professionally since January because of a wrist injury, will celebrate her 18th birthday at the LPGA Tour Samsung World Championship, where she started her professional career in 2005.

Held at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif., the event starts Oct. 11, Wie's birthday.

"There is nothing like going back to where my professional career started, and playing against the best players in the world," Wie recently told the media. "I'm excited for the opportunity."

Wie has not competed since missing the cut at the PGA Tour Sony Open. She is expected to return to the LPGA Tour on a sponsor's exemption at the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika at the end of this month. The tournament's namesake, Annika Sorenstam, is also sidelined with an injury and is hoping to come back for that event.

The field at this year's Samsung World Championship will include defending champion and world No. 1 women's golfer Lorena Ochoa and Kraft Nabisco champion Morgan Pressel. The rest of the 20-player field comprises major champions and the leading money winners from the LPGA and Ladies European tours.

Though Wie made her professional debut at the event, it was not an auspicious beginning. Wie was in fourth place in 2005 until she was disqualified for taking an improper drop in the third round. Her performance last year was lackluster, finishing 17th and failing to break par the entire event.

Wie will be graduated from Punahou High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, this year. She will attend Stanford as a freshman in the fall.

May 17, 2007

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