Wie seizes lead as storms hit play

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Michelle Wie Jun 29 AFP Michelle Wie plays a shot on the seventh hole during the second round of the NW Arkansas Championship in Rogers, Arkansas. Photo: Sam Greenwood

Rogers – Michelle Wie fired a second straight five-under par 66 on Saturday to seize the lead before storms stopped play in the second round of the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship.

Wie, the one-time prodigy who claimed the first major title of her career at the US Women’s Open at Pinehurst last week, had six birdies and just one birdie.

Her 10-under total of 132 put her in the clubhouse with a two-stroke lead over South Korea’s Ryu So-Yeon when play was halted at the sodden Pinnacle Country Club course.

Ryu had five birdies and one bogey in her second successive 67

for 134.

South Korea’s Chella Choi and Norwegian Suzann Pettersen were level on 135, Choi boosted by six birdies and an eagle in her 65 and Pettersen with a 67 to get to seven-under through 36 holes.

On the course, Denmark’s Line Vedel was also seven-under with five holes to play, one of 72 players who failed to complete the second round.

LPGA vice president Sue Witters said officials hoped to get the second round of the 54-hole tournament completed on Sunday morning, and the final round in by nightfall.

“I hate to say the ‘M word’,” she said of the possibility of a Monday finish, adding that officials were “fairly confident” that they could complete three rounds by Sunday night.

Witters said the severity of the storms made it impossible to continue play on Saturday. Even if there had been a break in the weather before darkness fell, the amount of rainfall meant it would take some time to get the course ready for play.

World number one Stacy Lewis, who carded a 66, South Korea’s Lee Mi-Hyang with a 65 and American Mina Harigae with a 66 were in the clubhouse on six-under.

South Korea’s Oh Ji-Young, American Gerina Piller and Mexico’s Alejandra Llaneza shared sixth place with them, Oh through 14 holes, Piller through 13 and Llaneza through 10.

Wie, who also won the LPGA Lotte Championship in her home state of Hawaii earlier in 2014, will be trying to post back-to-back wins for the first time in her career.

She said she had spoken with her friend and mentor, Meg Mallon, who told her that despite the fatigue that inevitably follows a major win, it is possible to follow up a US Open triumph with a victory.

Mallon achieved the feat in 2004, when she won in Canada a week after capturing her second US Open title.

“I’m definitely tired, definitely trying to get through the week,” Wie said. “But at the same time I want to win back to back.

“I can’t predict the score, but I’m just going to go out there and try to do the same thing I did today,” Wie said.

“Just attack the holes that I can attack and try to make some putts and try to make a lot of birdies.”

Lewis, who attended the University of Arkansas in nearby Fayetteville, rebounded from a disappointing first-round 70.

“I don’t like playing two bad rounds in a row,” Lewis said.

“If I play a bad round it’s OK, but you just can’t let it happen again.” – Sapa-AFP


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