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Wie Fires 66; Back in the Mix at U.S. Women's Open
Michelle Wie shot her best round since September 2010 in the second round of the U.S. Women's Open. The recent Stanford graduate fired a 6-under 66 Friday to rocket up the leaderboard in the $3.25 million major championship, which began Thursday at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.
After opening with a 74, Wie posted seven birdies and a bogey to get to 4-under 140, one stroke behind leader Suzann Pettersen, who has carded rounds of 71 and 68. Wie is tied for second with 18-hole co-leader Cristie Kerr (69, 71).
After needing 35 putts Thursday, Wie required only 23 in the second round. "I think that was the main difference from yesterday," she said of her work on the greens. "Yesterday I had a lot of 40-foot putts, 50-foot putts. Today on the back nine I had a lot of putts within 15 feet. That really helps on the golf course. It's the difference between lagging them and trying to make them. So I was putting them in good positions today."
Wie is particularly pleased to qualify for the weekend. "I'm pretty stoked to be back in contention and honestly not have to worry about the cut line," added the 22-year-old. "It feels pretty good. I'm looking forward to a good weekend it feels pretty good."
Pettersen almost missed her tee time after oversleeping; she made it to the first tee (actually the 10th as she started on the back nine) in time but didn't eat breakfast. "I thought it was awfully light in the room when I woke up, at 6:40, an hour late," the 31-year-old Norwegian said.
"I don't know. I looked at the alarm clock, and I think instead of putting it 5:45, I put it for 6:45. I cut breakfast short and went straight to the green. Can't wait for a shower now."
Heat was an issue for the second straight day, with temperatures in the mid-90s and the heat index over 100. That, combined with the usual difficult U.S. Open set-up, ensures that no player will likely run away with the championship.
"It's just playing kind of tough," said the 34-year-old Kerr, who won the U.S. Women's Open in 2007. "Yeah, there were a couple of low rounds, but I think the key to this week is consistency, you know, trying to shoot four rounds under par. And I've done that halfway through the tournament, and I want to keep up that consistency and make a couple of those five-, six-footers that have kind of eluded me the last couple of days, so it is great to see low numbers.
"But I think at the end you gotta look at kind of what your average score is at the Open and count them up at the end of the week."
Sandra Gal of Germany, South Korea's Inbee Park and American Vicky Hurst all shot 70s to get to 3-under 141 and share fourth. Hurst, a 22-year-old seeking her first LPGA win, hopes to continue her consistency in the final two rounds. "I'm going to stay with the same game plan, same mindset," said the Floridian. "Very steady. I've been hitting the ball great, chipping and putting it really well. So my game plan isn't going to change. It's going to pretty much stay the same and stay aggressive going into the weekend."
Surprise first-round co-leader, rookie Lizett Salas, followed up her opening 69 with a 73. She's at 142 with Mika Miyazato. "I'm not totally disappointed over the fact that I wasn't hitting my shots solid today," said the former USC player of her round, "but I grinded it out and made a really good putt on number 8 which was my 17th hole and just kept myself alive, kept the momentum up and just had a little brain fart on 9 and 18. So it's okay. I'd rather have bad shots today rather than on Sunday."
The other 18-hole leader, Brittany Lincicome, had a day to forget. The 26-year-old posted an 8-over 80 to fall down the leaderboard. She was obviously disgusted with her performance. "I did nothing right today," said the five-time LPGA winner. "I couldn't drive the ball. I couldn't do anything right. I couldn't putt - I had 32 or 33 putts today, which obviously is not good.
"I three-putted three times in the first six or seven holes, I think. That's obviously kind of frustrating. You go out and feel like you did so good yesterday and had no idea what happened today. I felt great - maybe a little tired, didn't get as much sleep as I needed. I have no idea."
The projected cut is at 5-over 149. Among those who'll be playing over the weekend is No. 1-ranked Yani Tseng. The 15-time LPGA winner has shot rounds of 74 and 72. Starting on the 10th hole, the 23-year-old went out in 2-under 34 but struggled coming home, posting three bogeys and a birdie for a 38.
"I played very well for like 12 holes, and then after that I kind of made some three putts, and didn't hit my irons well and just dropped like three bogeys on the back nine," said Tseng, who if she wins this week would achieve a career Grand Slam. "Just otherwise could have finished much better today. But there is something I always can improve. I even feel yesterday I played better. Only two bad holes, but today it could be much better, but still two more days to go, and I wish to make some more birdies."
For updated scoring, visit http://www.uswomensopen.com/scoring2012/dyn/alllb.html.