CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. » Jiyai Shin left everyone in the mud at the Kia Classic yesterday. Honolulu’s Michelle Wie sank in it over her final four holes at Industry Hills Golf Club.
Wie went into the rain-delayed second round in third place and had a share of fourth through 14 holes. But she bogeyed three of her final four holes to fall into a tie for eighth, far back of Shin.
Wie finished with a 2-over-par 75. Her two-day total of 3-under 143 leaves her nine behind Shin. The world’s second-ranked female golfer was four ahead of Sandra Gal when play was suspended with Gal halfway through her round.
Shin is six shots clear of everybody else after a phenomenal 9-under 64 yesterday. It was a career low in relation to par for Shin, who beat out Wie for rookie of the year in 2009.
The second round was delayed 3 hours to wait out the rain, which provided soft greens, casual water and a splash behind every shot and landing on the fairway. Half the field will try to finish its second round this morning, including four golfers in the top 10. The third round will follow after the cut is made.
Hilo’s Kimberly Kim is in danger of missing it at 6 over. She also struggled through the final holes, bogeying two of her last three to shoot 77.
Wie’s day was anything but boring from the beginning. The world’s 11th-ranked player drove the 282-yard 10th hole while Juli Inkster was lining up her putt in the group ahead. Wie’s ball rolled up the green to the top of the slope, then seemed to see Inkster and roll back down to the bottom level.
"I was so surprised it even got there," Wie said. "I was like, ‘My bad, I hit the cart path.’ I guess that’s one way of getting on the green."
The Punahou graduate whacked her eagle putt up the hill, but even that wasn’t hard enough. It rolled back down again. Her next putt barely made the top and stopped 5 feet short of the hole. She missed that, four-putting her first hole for bogey.
"It was a harder putt than I would have had with a wedge," Wie said. "I hit that (first) putt really hard."
Just like Thursday, she bounced back quickly, blasting another drive about 50 yards from the 11th hole and hitting her wedge within 3 feet for birdie.
A bogey on the 15th left her 1 over for the day and 4 under for the tournament when she made the turn. After tentative putts earlier, she drained a 15-foot birdie putt with authority at No. 2 to get back to 5 under, then launched another approach to 2 feet on the fourth to grab a share of fourth.
Bogeys at Nos. 6, 7 and 9 erased all that and more.
"One shot here, one shot there, just kind of grinding out there …," she said. "I got unlucky on a couple holes at the end, stuck on a branch on (No.) 9. A little unlucky and a couple bad shots."
Wie did interviews with The Golf Channel in English and J Golf in Korean after the bottom dropped out of her day. Then she said she needs a lot of patience and some low numbers this weekend to catch Shin.
The leader has played the front nine in 11 under the first two days. She already has five wins on the LPGA Tour, and 26 internationally. Maybe more impressive, Shin has finished in the top 10 in more than half her starts and finished last year ranked No. 1.