Wie in contention, but battling back spasms

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Michelle Wie signed for a 2-under-par 71 to keep herself in contention Friday at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and then headed straight to the physio trainers.

Uh-oh.

Wie struggled through back spasms in the second round at Royal Adelaide, but she still managed to put herself in weekend position to make a run at winning her fifth LPGA title, her first in two-and-a-half years. She’s tied for 13th, just four shots off the lead.

“It was pretty bad out there, but, hopefully, to the physio and get it better for this weekend,” Wie said.

Wie, 27, showed visible signs of discomfort in the round, but she figured out how to get through it.


Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open


“I just had to yell at myself sometimes, ‘Hit it, go through the ball,’” she said. “I tried to block a lot to the right, actually had trouble turning through, but I just forced myself to get through it. It’s OK.”

Wie’s new claw putting grip continues to serve her well. She took 28 putts Friday after taking just 27 on Thursday. She abandoned her unorthodox “table-top” putting stance after missing the cut at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic in the season opener.

Friday’s round in Australia started ominously.

“It was definitely a tough start, starting off with a double bogey is never fun, but I really grinded out there,” she said.

Two days before the Women’s Australian Open, Wie said she was starting the year feeling healthy, but leaned over the table at her news conference and knocked on wood. She struggled with hip, knee and ankle problems for nearly all of 2015 after winning the U.S. Women’s Open in 2014 and with some other nagging issues last year.