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Michelle Wie West’s road back to the U.S. Women’s Open was a long one with detours for marriage, motherhood and injuries.

The 2014 champion is set to play her first Open in three years starting Thursday at the Olympic Club, just a short drive from her new home base in the Bay Area.

“It’s a really cool feeling being here,” she said. “I guess just staying at my house these two weeks is pretty nice. I’ve never had that happen before at a major tournament. ... Being here at Olympic Club, at another amazing venue, it’s really fun. It’s really amazing to be back. It’s an honour.”

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Wie West returned from a nearly two-year absence from competitive golf this spring but failed to make the cut in the three tournaments she has played so far this year. She last made a cut in February, 2019, at a tour event in Thailand and hasn’t even been in the running at a major since tying for 10th place at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek.

That lack of recent success has made Wie West a long shot this week. Seven-time major winner and two-time U.S. Open champion Inbee Park is favoured, followed by Ariya Jutanugarn, Jin Young Ko and Lydia Ko at the Lake Course that figures to be especially challenging with deep rough and small greens.

This is the first time the women are playing the U.S. Open here but the men have held five Opens on this course. Only four players finished under par in those tournaments.

“It’s pretty spectacular,” Jessica Korda said. “There’s no first cut out here. The rough is high. Greens are really small. It’s going to be a difficult test, but I’m really excited about it because this is exactly what a U.S. Open, in my head, always is supposed to look like.”

Wie West has been busy during her time away from the tour. She got married in 2019 to Jonnie West, the son of NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West and an executive with the Golden State Warriors, gave birth to her daughter, Makenna, last June, and is preparing to be an assistant captain for the Solheim Cup.

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