Hurst Still Leads Big Names in Contention

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McDonaldHAVRE DE GRACE, Md. -- Pat Hurst kept it steady in the wind and soggy conditions Saturday morning, dropping one shot over eight holes to complete her second round at 1-under 71 and take a one-shot lead at the LPGA Championship.
 
A five-hour storm delay Friday kept 70 players from finishing the second round, including three-time defending champion Annika Sorenstam. They returned to a soggy course and the strongest wind of the week, with gusts of about 15 mph.
 
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie finished runner-up in this event a year ago.
When it ended, the final 36 holes had some tantalizing possibilities.
 
Michelle Wie, the 16-year-old from Hawaii who started her week trying to qualify for the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, was only two shots behind after a 68 that she completed before a series of thunderstorms rolled through Bulle Rock.
 
Sorenstam, trying to become the first woman to win the same major four straight times, Kraft Nabisco champion Karrie Webb, resurgent Se Ri Pak and 18-year-old Morgan Pressel were among those three shots behind.
 
Hurst was at 7-under 137, one shot ahead of Christina Kim (71) and Dorothy Delasin, who reached 10 under par on Friday before a double bogey and a bogey over her final four holes knocked her down to a 71.
 
Delasin played the first two days with Wie, and while there were only about 500 fans following along, that constituted the largest gallery at Bulle Rock and reminded Delasin of what it was like when she was winning her four LPGA Tour events.
 
'I never played with her before,' said Delasin, who was at 6-under 138. 'The crowd was fine. I love playing in crowds. When I was winning, leading tournaments, the crowds were the same, so it wasn't a big deal. I like having people watching, whether they're watching me or Michelle or anybody.'
 
Having Delasin around paid off for Wie, too.
 
She came to the conclusion that putts really do go in the hole every now and then, and Wie started making enough of her own to get back into the hunt for her first LPGA title.
 
'Her making a lot of putts was like, 'Oh, the ball can go in the hole,'' Wie said. 'It gave me confidence. She played great out there. It was fun playing with her.'
 
Wie was the runner-up last year to Sorenstam and must have liked her position when the second round finally ended. She was only two shots behind despite missing a dozen putts inside 12 feet -- some of those within 6 feet -- over the first 36 holes.
 
'If I can just get things going, I think I can shoot really low out here,' Wie said.
 
Pressel played with Sorenstam the first two days, and Saturday morning didn't start well as she made double bogey at No. 9. But the fiery teen poured it on after that, starting the back nine with three straight birdies, shooting 31 on the back for a 67 to get into contention on the weekend at her first LPGA Championship.
 
Sorenstam is right there, too, although she has been plodding along. She followed a birdie on the par-5 11th with a bogey, then after a birdie on the 372-yard 14th, she failed to make birdie on the 493-yard 15th, one of the easier par 5s. Sorenstam dropped another shot on the par-3 17th, but finished with a birdie to leave herself in good shape over the final 36 holes.
 
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