Back-to-back 68s give Michelle Wie the lead
By Bernie D'Amato under US Women's Open


Kaymer-esque start. ©USGA/John Mummert.

Kaymer-esque start. ©USGA/John Mummert.

Michelle Wie birdied her final two holes of the day to record a second consecutive two-under 68 at the U.S. Women’s Open. Wie currently holds a three-stroke lead over Lexi Thompson (thru 14).

Michelle is pleased with how she is handling the difficult course setup at Pinehurst No. 2. She said, “I think my caddie and I did a great job today. Even if I left myself 50-foot putts for birdie. We just played it safe on a lot of holes, where you just can’t really go for the pins. I think we did a good job of being aggressive and playing it safe. Course management was definitely working today.”

The 24-year-old spoke about being fearless during the pre-tournament press conference, and fearless golf includes smart golf. On the 229-yard par-4 third hole, Wie laid up with a hybrid because a driver would have been dead if it went over the green. She made a par on three, and would birdie eight and nine for a 68.

Michelle is having a terrific year on the LPGA with eight top-10s, including a win at the LPGA Lotte Championship. Her resurgence may surprise some, but she has always been a hard worker. “The results show. But I’ve been very patient, even when I didn’t play well. I worked hard. I knew I could get better. I knew I could improve. But that’s the game of golf. I think that’s what’s so fun about it. You work hard, you work hard, it’s a challenging game. You can never quite perfect it.”

“I love working on my game. I love working on different shots. Just trying to get better every day. I never really lost a sense of determination or drive. It just — it is — it is a lot more fun when you work hard and the results show. It kind of motivates you to work even harder.”

And winning a major is something that pushes Wie. “I definitely always thought about it, always dreamt of it. Every time I hold something people make fun of me, because I hold it like a trophy. But I just — like I said, I’m going to stay in the present. It’s a long way to Sunday. Definitely it’s always been a big dream of mine.”

2014 U.S. Women’s Open leader board.

–Bernie D’Amato