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Wie leads by 3 strokes after second-round 68

By Doug Ferguson

AP Golf Writer

LAST UPDATED: 02:53 p.m. HST, Jun 20, 2014

PINEHURST, N.C. » Michelle Wie delivered the best comparison of all between the men and women at Pinehurst No. 2. She was threatening to turn this major into a runaway.

Wie made two big pars and closed with two birdies for a second straight 2-under 68, giving her a three-shot lead.

Wie was at 4-under 136, three shots ahead of Lexi Thompson, who shot a 68 Friday and is at 1-under 139.

"End of the day yesterday, I was thinking if I just did this again, that would be nice," Wie said. "Finishing with two birdies is always great. It's a grind out there. It's not easy. Really grateful for the par putts that I made and some of the birdie putts that I made. I can't complain. I'll take it."

Pinehurst No. 2 wasn't in much of a giving mood on another warm day in the North Carolina sandhills.

Stacy Lewis, the No. 1 player in women's golf who opened with a 67, spent the afternoon trading birdies and bogeys, and bogeys were winning. She finished with a 73 and is four shots back at 140.

Lucy Li's historic week as the youngest qualifier in the Women's Open didn't last long. She opened with a double bogey for the second straight day and wound up with another 78 to finish at 16-over par, well beyond the cut line.

The course was set up similar to the second round for the men last week, when Martin Kaymer set a U.S. Open record at 10-under 130 for a six-shot lead. He never let anyone get closer than four shots over the final 48 holes.

The tee was moved up on the par-4 third hole, playing 229 yards (it was 315 yards for the men). The par-5 10th was moved all the way back to 578 yards.

Wie had four birdies on the back nine to rally from a poor start in the opening round. Friday was far more steady. Wie, who started on the back nine, opened with eight straight pars, then made birdie on the 18th hole from the sandy area by punching a gap wedge to about 15 feet.

More than the birdies were too key pars.

She went long on the 417-yard second hole and feared her chip would go off the front of the green. It barely stayed, and she made a 15-foot putt to escape. The panic set in on the par-3 sixth when she hit the front of the green and rapped her putt too strong. Most putts like that get past the hole and never stop until they run off the back of the turtleback green. This one stayed on the surface, and she knocked in a 25-footer for par.

"I had a couple of those today, which was really nice," she said.

The only time she worried was on No. 8, the second-toughest at Pinehurst No. 2 in the second round.

She hit 3-wood off the tee on the 425-yard hole, and tried to hit a 6-iron short and right to avoid going left of the green, one of the worst spots to be on the course.

"I pulled it a little bit off that hill, and left is no good there," Wie said. "I was thinking that could either be great or it could be disastrous. So both me and my caddie were having a little bit of a heart attack on that shot. It turned out great."

She made a 12-footer for birdie, and then hit a cut pitching wedge from 124 yards on the par-3 ninth to 15 feet for a final birdie.

Minjee Lee, the 18-year-old amateur from Australia, had a 71 and Amy Yang had a 69. They were at even-par 140.

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fiveo wrote:
Wie always does well the first two days and then crumbles on the final day. You see this pattern over and over. Don't know why. Anybody have any idea of what is the problem??
on June 20,2014 | 10:59AM
cojef wrote:
She is maturing and will eventually find out how to deal with the mid round let-down. Golf is a concentration game and takes mental toughness for 4 rounds. She certainly has the tools, it's only a question of getting the hang of it.
on June 20,2014 | 12:06PM
Eradication wrote:
Oh please, get real. She is the 2nd leading money earner on the LPGA this year, numerous top ten finishes and a win. I'd say she doing just fine. You're not suggesting that she win every tournament she enters are you?
on June 20,2014 | 09:53PM
MillionMonkeys wrote:
Wie used to crumble on the weekends. This year, she's been playing well on the last two days; that's made the difference in her results. I believe she won't crumble, is the favorite to win, will place in the top 5 for sure.
on June 20,2014 | 12:50PM
niimi wrote:
Michelle Wie in 2014 has the following finishes. T13, 4, T9, T12, T16, 2 (Kraft), 1 (Lotte), T9, 3, T23, T6. Looks like fiveo needs to close the mouth before accusing. Easy for an armchair observer like fiveo because such accusations are about a professional golfer who played part-time on the LPGA tour while attending full time in college at Stanford University. I'd bet fiveo couldn't handle that load. Following completion of college she humbled herself and went through qualifying school. Spent 2013 refining her game, and you can see it paying off in droves this year. Eleven events thus far and no missed cuts, worst finish is 23rd. 7 of 11 top 10s, one victory, one 2nd, two third place finishes. Nice job!
on June 20,2014 | 04:40PM
kahu808 wrote:
Obviously she shouldn't listen to people like you. She should just have fun and go with it.
on June 20,2014 | 05:30PM
kiragirl wrote:
Mental. The more often she is contention, the less pressure and she will become mentally stronger.
on June 20,2014 | 06:28PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Way to go Michelle! You are really doing well. Keep it up!
on June 20,2014 | 11:11AM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
fiveo, you obviously haven't been watching her this year have you? Name me one time this year she "crumbled" in the final round?
on June 20,2014 | 12:44PM
hanalei395 wrote:
That was an OBVIOUS "crumble" wish, hope by fiveo.
on June 20,2014 | 02:05PM
false wrote:
Hooray for Michelle. She can and will be the Tiger Woods of the LPGA for a long long time. It may be that she has matured at 24. May be wrong but I don't see her doting parents tagging along. That may be part of her success now.
on June 20,2014 | 01:36PM
bleedgreen wrote:
Michelle has been playing well all year. Nows a good time for her to hold it together for the weekend. By the way, Lexi Thompson finished today's round with a 2-under 68; 1-under for the tournament. Michelle leads by 3.
on June 20,2014 | 02:00PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
This may be another Lexi Michelle showdown.
on June 20,2014 | 06:07PM
kiragirl wrote:
Hopefully the outcome will be different.
on June 20,2014 | 06:30PM
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