HOYLAKE, England – Michelle Wie might never experience more disparate conditions than those she’s faced in two days of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Liverpool.
She could barely stand up on Friday. But on Saturday, she stood tall and moved up the leaderboard.
Wie returned a second-round, 2-under-par 70 to move into contention early in the day. Her score was one of five sub-par scores from the early starters, with Japan’s Mika Miyazato setting the early pace. Miyazato matched Wie’s 70 to move to 3-under-par, four shots ahead of Wie.
Five birdies and three bogeys helped Wie offset her opening 75. She moved to 1-over for the championship, easily inside the cut line and with a chance of winning her first major.
The Hawaiian turned up on Saturday to find a very different Royal Liverpool. Warm sunshine and benign conditions graced the Hoylake links, making Wie and the rest of the field wonder if they were playing the same golf course.
Wie was one of the unlucky few forced onto the golf course yesterday when the wind was howling at 25 mph. She played two holes when the LGU finally used its common sense. Wie and the rest of the unlucky ones were pulled off the golf course and the second round was abandoned.
The Stanford graduate was only 1-over through two holes in the horrendous conditions. England’s Felicity Johnson was 8-over through three holes.
“It was amazing how different it was today,” Wie said. “We were talking about how many strokes different it would have been if we had played yesterday. It was perfect today.”
Some players still found the going tough despite the calm conditions. Brittany Lincicome had an 82. England’s Karen Stupples, the 2004 champion, shot 81. Brittany Lang needed 79 strokes. Rising English star Melissa Reid posted a 77. Ladies European Tour order of merit leader Carly Booth, Wie’s playing competitor, also went around the Hoylake links in 77.
“The golf course is very tough,” Wie said. “The bunkers aren’t moving anywhere. The fairways aren’t getting any wider. It’s a tough golf course. It’s a really good golf course.”
Wie has missed nine cuts in 16 events this year, including her last two. Her best finish came in the Safeway Classic last month. Her eighth-place finish is her only top 30 from the seven cuts she’s made.
No wonder she flew into Hoylake under the radar.
The LGU has decided to cut the field to 50 and ties after today’s second round due to the abandonment of Friday’s play. The field will play 36 holes tomorrow in three balls from a two-tie start. Wie is hoping that plays into her favor.
“I knew it was going to be 36 holes,” she said. “I’ve been preparing myself mentally that it’s going to be a long day tomorrow.
“I’m just excited that I have a chance and that I’m in the mix and that I have an opportunity. I just climbed up the leaderboard and I’m going to try and win it tomorrow.”