It has been no major championship hangover for Michelle Wie this week in Arkansas. The Rolex Rankings No. 7 player now holds a two-shot lead at 10-under at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. The second round was suspended at 4:30 p.m. local time and called for the day at 5:30 p.m. due to dangerous weather in the area. Seventy-two players still need to finish the second round and round two will continue at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday with the final round starting at approximately 11:00 a.m.
Wie shot back-to-back 66’s in the first two rounds and has had only one bogey in her first 36 holes of the tournament. The newest major champion leads last year’s runner-up So Yeon Ryu who posted rounds of 67-67 and had five birdies and one bogey in Friday’s second round.
Wie will try to record back-to-back wins for the first time in her career tomorrow and has already recorded two victories in a single season for the first time with her win at Pinehurst No. 2. Wie showed no signs of fatigue on Saturday and recorded four of her six birdies in her final seven holes.
The 24-year-old said she chatted with friend and mentor Meg Mallon on Saturday night and said she told her that following a U.S. Women’s Open with a win is not impossible. Mallon achieved the feat in 2004 when she followed up her second U.S. Women’s Open title with a win at the CN Canadian Women’s Open.
“I’m definitely tired, definitely trying to get through the week,” said Wie. “But at the same time I want to win back to back. I kind of talked to Meg on the phone yesterday and she’s like, yeah, I played after the U.S. Open I won. But it’s a long way till then, but I definitely want to play the best I can…I’m not the type of person, I don’t like to plan too far in the future. There’s definitely stuff I need to do tomorrow before that happens. If I can get it done, hopefully it will happen.”
University of Arkansas alum and local favorite Stacy Lewis turned in a 66, bouncing back from an opening round 70 on Friday. She sits four shots behind Wie in a tie for sixth. The world No. 1 player said she took out some frustration on the range at Pinnacle Country Club on Friday and it seemed to payoff. She said she has proactively throughout her career trained herself to forget about a bad round and move on.
“That’s what I do best,” said Lewis. “I don’t like playing two bad rounds in a row. If I play a bad round it’s okay, but you just can’t let it happen again. So that’s why last night I spent some time out there. It was a long night, but I felt a lot more confident coming into today.”
Ten players are currently within four shots of Wie including Suzann Pettersen (-7), Chella Choi (-7) and Gerina Piller (-6). Wie said she’ll be taking an aggressive approach on Sunday especially with the soft conditions due to rainfall in Rogers throughout the week.
“I can’t predict the score, but I’m just going to go out there and try to do the same thing I did today, just attack the holes that I can attack and try to make some putts and try to make a lot of birdies,” said Wie.
OH HAIL NO!
Play was suspended for the day at 5:30 p.m. (CT) due to significant weather conditions…72 players were out on the course at the time play was halted…Round 2 of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship will resume at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday June 29…Round 3 starting times will be 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (CT), off of #1 and #10 tees in groups of three.
Two of the LPGA Tour’s biggest stars will be in the hunt once again on Sunday and may just be the new friendly rivalry the fans of women’s golf love to see. Local favorite Stacy Lewis sits four shots behind second-round leader Michelle Wie heading into the final round and loves having a challenge on Sundays. Lewis was six shots behind Wie at the start of the final round last week in Pinehurst and put the pressure on the eventual after closing with a 66.
“Well, Michelle’s obviously playing some really good golf,” said Lewis. “I’m going to have to shoot a good number
tomorrow. This golf course always leads to a little bit of a shootout. At least I put a good number up today and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Wie, who has become friends with Lewis off the course since moving to Jupiter, Fla., said a final round with the duo in the hunt is perfect drama. Wie says she has seen the 10-time LPGA Tour winner put up some low numbers on Sundays and knows a lead is never safe with Lewis in the hunt.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s always fun to play against Stacy,” said Wie. “We play against each other a lot during the off weeks. We play a lot together, we work out together. She’s a great competitor. I love when she’s kind of in the mix because I know she’s going to do something crazy, post a low score. And she definitely inspires me, motivates me. So it’s just great to see her kind of come back to Arkansas, see so many fans, see a lot of “I Love Stacy” shirts out there. It’s great.”
GOTTA GET AGGRESSIVE
You would think Rolex Rankings No. 4 Suzann Pettersen would be fighting for a bounce-back after missing the cut last week at the U.S. Women’s Open Championship but the 33-year-old said she didn’t take much from the week in Pinehurst. After rounds of 78-74 in the first two rounds, Pettersen traveled up to Rhode Island to take part in the CVS Caremark Charity Classic and event she has played in the past three years.
“I teamed with Jonas Blixt…I really enjoyed playing with the guys,” said Pettersen. “I take a lot from it and, like I said, I took more from that week than I did from the U.S. Open.”
Pettersen said she didn’t feel like she played poorly last week and turned to her time in Rhode Island to channel her focus to being aggressive. Last week’s missed cut marked the first time the Norwegian has missed a cut in 21 starts, dating back to last year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club.
“I really didn’t play that bad,” said Pettersen. “I putted not my best and my ball striking was maybe not my very, very best, but it was just a brutal week if you weren’t spot on. I didn’t take too much off it…The guys play so aggressive. I mean, they go for everything and they’re fairly aggressive on the greens, so that’s probably what I take a lot from it.”
Pettersen had just 29 putts in her second-round of 67 in comparison to 32 putts yesterday when she posted a 68 in the first round. She said the biggest frustration that comes to her is leaving it short on the greens.
“Yeah, the lag, you don’t see the guys come up short very often,” said Pettersen. “Every time I leave a putt short now I get so frustrated.”
Pettersen has posted rounds of 68-67 this week and is three shots off the lead with 18 holes to play. She’s still looking for her first victory of the 2014 season with her last win coming at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship last
REBOUND FROM LAST YEAR
With back-to-back 67s and sitting at 8-under for the tournament, So Yeon Ryu headed to the clubhouse two shots off the lead at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Last year, Ryu (66-66-69) lost in a one hole sudden death playoff to eventual champion Inbee Park (69-65-67).
The loss, although disapponting, is not something that sticks out in her mind and she’s ready and excited for tomorrow’s final round because of how well she’s been playing.
“I just lost in the playoff, but still finish second is nice memory, a good memory.” Ryu said. “I remember two years ago also I finished tied 10 or something. So it feels like this golf course pretty suited for me, so I’m ready to go low tomorrow.”
Ryu battled the wind earlier in the day and was able to conclude her round before the weather rolled into Rogers, Ark.
“Today, actually the morning the wind was pretty strong so it was really hard to make a judge when we hit the shot.” Ryu said. “But this day my swing feels really great and my shot was really great is I think that’s why I could make a lot of birdies and I could make a lot of birdie chance. But unfortunately my putting wasn’t that much great so I miss a lot of short putts. So I am little bit disappointed about that, but I’m pretty sure I still can make a lot of birdies tomorrow.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I always love to be here because so many great crowds and they’re yelling to us, they support us really well. So I feel like I’m a rock star, you know? When I walk through that hole, I really want to make a birdie and I want to just kind of pay back to them. I just want to make them be more exciting so I love to be here.”
-So Yeon Ryu explaining what it’s like as a player walking down the 17th hole, the Loudest Hole on Tour, at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G
WIE ON ICE
Michelle Wie was called out by friend Matthew Broome to complete the “Ice Bucket Challenge” – a challenge that has taken off on social media recently. When you are called out, you either have to participate or donate $100 to a charity of that person’s choice. Michelle paid it forward by challenging LPGA players Stacy Lewis and Jessica Korda.
“Got called out by “mbroome009 to do the ice bucket challenge. I now call out @stacylewis and @thejessicakorda to participate or donate to my charity.”
- @themichellewie via Instagram video
Source: LPGA Tour