PINEHURST, N.C. — For all the interest in the men and women playing Pinehurst No. 2 in consecutive weeks, Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson made the U.S. Women’s Open more closely resemble the first LPGA Tour major of the year.
Wie held it together with two key par putts and finished with back-to-back birdies for a 2-under 68. Thompson powered her way out of the sand and weeds and ran off three straight birdies to match Wie for the lowest score Friday.
They were the only players still under par going into the weekend, perhaps setting up a rematch from the first major of the year. Thompson soundly beat Wie in the final round at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
“Definitely too early,” Thompson said with a laugh. “Thirty-six holes in a major, that’s a lot of golf to be played, especially at a U.S. Women’s Open.”
For now, Wie had control with a three-shot lead.
The 24-year-old from Hawaii twice thought her shots were going off the turtleback greens, and twice she relied on her table-top putting stance to make long par saves. She finished with a 6-iron that set up a 12-foot birdie putt, and a 15-foot birdie on the par-5 ninth to reach 4-under 136.
“End of the day yesterday, I was thinking if I just did this again, that would be nice,” Wie said. “Finishing with two birdies is always great. It’s a grind out there. It’s not easy. Really grateful for the par putts that I made and some of the birdie putts that I made. I can’t complain. I’ll take it.”
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