RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. » Angel Yin was asked if there was a player she wanted to meet this week at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, but was too shy to approach.
"Michelle Wie," said Yin, the 15-year-old high school freshman who shot a 4-under 68 on Thursday to finish a stroke behind her idol after the first round.
"If she sat next to me and said ‘Hi’ to me, I’d probably run."
The 24-year-old Wie laughed when told about Yin’s response.
"It’s crazy," the Hawaii native said. "These girls are starting to make me feel really old."
Wie played a four-hole stretch in 5 under, showing off all the talent that made her a star in her early teens and helped attract players like Yin to golf.
"I just felt comfortable out there," Wie said.
Wie ended up a stroke behind leader Shanshan Feng, lipping out a 3-foot par putt on the par-3 17th and settling for par and a 67 on the par-5 18th.
"I’ll take it," Wie said. "I’ll take a 67 here."
Feng shot a 66 in perfect morning conditions at Mission Hills in the first major championship of the year. The 24-year-old Chinese player had seven birdies and a bogey.
"This morning, it was playing easier because there was no wind," Feng said.
Wie birdied the par-5 ninth and par-4 10th, made a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 11th and moved into a tie for the lead with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 12th.
She got up-and-down for par from near a steep face in a bunker on the par-4 15th, hitting to 11/2 feet with her left foot almost 2 feet above her right.
"Just was aggressive on the holes I needed to be and conservative on the other holes," Wie said.
Wie is making her 12th start in the event. She was ninth in 2003 at age 13, fourth the following year and tied for third at 16 in 2006.
"I think when you’re younger you’re kind of fearless," Wie said. "You don’t know what failure is."
Lefty’s looking good
HUMBLE, Texas » Phil Mickelson did more than prove to just himself that he’s ready for next week’s Masters on Thursday.
The five-time major winner showed to everyone that he’s fully recovered from last week’s muscle pull and likely to be a factor in this week’s Houston Open as well.
Without so much as a practice round this week at the 7,441-yard Golf Club of Houston, Mickelson opened with a 4-under-par 68 and was among the leaders following Thursday’s opening round.
The bogey-free performance was a far cry from last week, when Mickelson was forced to withdraw during the third round in San Antonio after pulling a muscle in his right side
Mickelson is three shots back of first-round co-leaders Bill Haas and Charley Hoffman (7 under). Haas had five birdies on his back nine, while Hoffman needed just 27 putts to earn a share of the lead.
Keegan Bradley and Matt Kuchar lead a group of five golfers at 6 under.