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Michelle Wie's 67 puts her six behind leader Stacy Lewis at Mission Hills

Wie bounces back to match the day's lowest round after her opening drive hits a girl on the first hole of the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

April 01, 2011|By Diane Pucin
  • Michelle Wie hits her second shot on the sixth hole during the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage on Friday.
Michelle Wie hits her second shot on the sixth hole during the second round… (David Cannon / Getty Images )

Michelle Wie caromed her opening drive off the cart path on the first hole and then off the head of a girl in the gallery and then into the fairway. The little girl was fine, Wie made par and then went on to tie the lowest score of the day Friday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Wie's five-under-par 67 gave her a two-day total of three-under 141 and has the 21-year-old tied for eighth, six shots behind leader Stacy Lewis.

Lewis held her nerve when she had to fight for some pars early and finished with a 69 Friday and a two-day total of nine-under 135 at the blistering-hot Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

Trailing the 26-year-old Lewis by three shots are defending champion Yani Tseng, 2009 Kraft winner Brittany Lincicome and Rancho Cucamonga native Jane Park.

Kraft Nabisco Championship leaderboard

Wie's 67 (matched only by South Korea's I.K. Kim) did not seem possible after her opening shot.

"I felt so horrible about hitting that poor little girl," Wie said. "At first I just thought I'd hit a sprinkler or a tree or something."

The little girl kept following Wie and was rewarded with the chance to watch a steady display of long drives and precise shot-making.

"I'm glad to have shot five under today in tough conditions," Wie said.

Another former Kraft champion, 22-year-old Morgan Pressel, also moved into contention with a 69 that has her tied for fifth with Amy Yang, four shots behind Lewis.

Among those not making the cut Friday was the world's third-ranked player, Cristie Kerr. Kerr's 72 Friday was not low enough to overcome her first-round 78. Kerr had not missed a cut in the last 36 majors dating to the Women's British Open in 2001.

Lewis once thought she would be that sort of dominant player. The four-time All-American at the University of Arkansas made her professional debut at the 2008 U.S. Women's Open. Lewis was the third-round leader at Interlachen in Minnesota and finished tied for third.

"I thought coming off that Open it would be kind of instant success and I'd be rolling right along," she said. "Then I hit a rut at the end of my rookie year and I was kind of lost."

Lewis still has not won a tournament.

But she has a second-place finish and a support system that includes a coach, a strength coach and a belief in herself.

Lewis had her own notable shot on the par-four first hole. She chipped in from 30 feet for an opening birdie.

After saving par on the first hole, Wie birdied three of the next four. She first played this tournament as a 13-year-old in 2003 and finished ninth; two years later she finished second at the U.S. Open and by 2006 she had six top-10 finishes at majors. Since then Wie has done not better in a major than a tie for 11th at the 2009 British Open.

"I'm really looking forward to the weekend," Wie said.

diane.pucin@latimes.com

twitter.com/mepucin

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