U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP: Wie and Thompson 1-2 going into today
While most players went down, Michelle Wie went up on a hot, humid, tough day of golf.
Wie shot her second consecutive 2-under 68 to move to 4-under to lead the U.S. Women’s Open by three shots after second round play on Friday.
“End of the day yesterday, I was thinking if I just did this again, that would be nice,” Wie said. “It’s a grind out there. It’s not easy. I can’t complain, I’ll take it.”
Wie had just one bogey on a day full of them and birdied holes No. 8 and 9 to close out a round where she made a lot of clutch par putts to stay in red numbers.
Lexi Thompson, who shot a 71 on Thursday, birdied holes No. 3, 4 and 5 on the way to a 68 and a two-round total of 1-under, three shots behind Wie.
“Today went very well for me,” said Thompson, who had just one bogey. “I stayed within one shot at a time. I think that’s all about U.S. Women’s Open, you just have to stay patient.”
Stacy Lewis, who held the first-round lead at 3-under, struggled through her day. Lewis had six bogeys after a bogey-free first round Thursday and dropped to even, four shots behind Wie.
“At the U.S. Open, you’re going to have to make some 5- and 6-footers and that’s what I didn’t do today,” she said. “I just didn’t putt very good.”
Amy Yang shot a 1-under 69 to move to even-par, where she’s tied with amateur Minjee Lee (71) and Lewis for third.
“I’m playing pretty solid right now,” Yang said. “I think I can finish well this week. This is kind of a tough course, you need to really be patient.”
Sakura Yokomine (2-over total) also shot a 68, while 2009 Women’s British Open champion Catriona Matthew and five-time major winner Se Ri Pak shot 69s as just five players had rounds under-par, the same number as Thursday. 22 players were 1-over or better after play Thursday. That number shrank to just six by Friday night.
Crowd favorite Lucy Li, at 11 years old the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open in history, shot a second-straight 8-over 78 to finish her tournament at 16-over, well below the cut line. But it didn’t matter for her.
“It was a lot of fun,” Li said of her two rounds. “I guess that it was fun because I had two great playing partners. They were really nice. I did a good job of staying patient and going to the next shot and not caring about what happens.”
Notable players to miss the cut include former major winners Morgan Pressel (+12), Suzann Pettersen (+12), Anna Nordqvist (+11) and Cristie Kerr (+10).
Wie’s lead may not be as large as Martin Kaymer’s last week in the men’s Open, but the margin might be tough to overcome on a weekend projected to be as hot and a course that will likely be as difficult as Thursday and Friday.
“There’s some birdies out there for sure, it’s just so hard when you have 8- and 9-irons in your hand and you’re normally firing at flags and you’re aiming 10 yards right or a pin,” said 2010 champion Paula Creamer, who shot a 72. “You feel like you’ve got a scoring club in your hand and you’re still not going for a pin.”
Lewis said she doubts that her Thursday 67 will be duplicated or bettered because of the tough conditions.
“I don’t know if somebody shoots something any better than that,” she said. “I think that this golf course is too hard. So I think anything even par, 1- or 2-under the next couple of days, I think you’re right there on Sunday.”
Wie and Thompson, who are good friends, will be in the final pairing on Saturday, a pairing that will likely be the most-followed of the week.
“I’m grateful for every time I’m in the final group, because it’s just so much fun,” Wie said. “I love feeling the nerves. I love feeling nervous. I love every part of it.”
Thompson said: “I’ve always loved playing in front of huge crowds and having people cheer me on in between holes. It gives me confidence, knowing that people are there supporting me, and it’s great to have that many fans out there.”