Coming off a victory at the Women’s Canadian Open the week before last, Michelle Wie is in position to notch her second consecutive victory at the P&G Northwest Arkansas Championship. Wie carded a seven-under 28 on the front nine, the lowest nine holes on the LPGA this season, on her way to a second round 64 and a three stroke lead over Yani Tseng, ’10 two-time major winner, Na Yeon Choi and Juli Inkster.
Wie capped her round by draining a 35-footer on 18 for birdie. She celebrated with a fist-pump and little dance as she walked off the green.
After holing a 20-footer for birdie on 10, she holed out from 80 yards on 12, made a 3-footer on 14, two more 20-footers on 15 and 16, then hit her second shot on the par-5 18th through a bunker and onto the green, where she rolled in a 35-footer for eagle to get to 7-under. Wie cooled after the turn, mixing two birdies with two bogeys to shoot an Even-par 36. The biggest difference Saturday was on the par-5s. Wie, the LPGA leader in driving distance, played them in 1-over Friday. Saturday? She played them in 5-under.
After eight years playing under intense public scrutiny, it appears Wie is finally coming into her own. She’s actually having fun on the golf course. Wie is a student at Stanford University and balances her tour schedule with classes. Despite growing up as a golf phenom, she has a wide array of interests from designing her own clothes to sketching. If you check out her blog, it’s obvious Wie is not only extremely talented on the course, but off of it, as well. More important, she’s enjoying herself.
“It was a fun round today, I have to say,” she said. “Just went out there and, you know, just played shot to shot. Just kind of went out there and had fun.”
Wie said she combated the heat by chugging thirst quenchers as the round progressed. “I got like really hot, like I felt really hot the first couple holes on the back 9 and I was like, I chugged a Powerade and Vitamin Water after that and just kind of felt better.”
“It’s fun to watch,” said Wie’s Saturday playing partner, Tseng. “You know, we’re just, “Wow, she make everything.
“She hits lots of great shots, great putt, and just fun to watch. She didn’t put any pressure on me, which is really fun…So one more days to go and she played awesome today. She was like 7-under the front nine. And then I told my caddie, ‘Oh, she took all my birdies. She played everything. So we need to catch up with her on the back nine.'”
If Wie can hold on for the victory on Sunday, perhaps it’ll mark the start of the dominant Michelle Wie era — one that the golfing world has been waiting and yearning for since she hit the scene as a teenager.
(AP Photo/April L. Brown)