Just What Wie Wanted to Happen

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2005 Samsung World ChampionshipPALM DESERT, Calif. -- Michelle Wie's second round as a professional was much better than her first.
 
After starting her pro career with a serviceable, 2-under 70 on Thursday, Wie fired a 7-under 65 on Friday and is tied for second place behind Grace Park after the second round of the Samsung World Championship. Wie is at 9-under-par 135, two off the lead at Bighorn Golf Club.
 
Park, who led after the first three rounds in 2004, posted a 6-under 66 and has the lead at 11-under-par 133.
 
Wie has serious company in second place. Annika Sorenstam, the first-round leader, bogeyed her final hole after a spirited conversation with a rules official en route to a 1-under 71. Sorenstam and Rookie of the Year and two-time winner this season Paula Creamer, who shot a 3-under 69, matched Wie at minus-9.
 
Wie wasted little time in breaking into red figures on Friday. She rolled in a 5-footer for birdie at the first, then pitched her third to 2 feet to set up birdie at the par-5 third. Wie moved to 3 under for her round when she converted a 4-footer for birdie at five.
 
The 16-year-old found trouble at seven when she had to take a penalty for an unplayable lie. But Wie pitched in her fourth from short of the green to keep her bogey-free round intact.
 
Wie hit her tee ball to a foot to set up a tap-in birdie at the eighth. She missed a 3-foot birdie chance at nine, but still made the turn at 5-under 31.
 
On the back nine, Wie collected her first birdie at the 11th from 3 feet out. She made it back-to-back birdies as she two-putted the par-5 12th green.
 
Wie made a nice par save at the 13th, but did not give herself many looks at birdie the rest of the way. Her best chance came at the last hole as her approach stopped 12 feet from the stick. Wie's birdie putt lipped out, but the teenager felt more relaxed in only her second round as a professional.
 
'I was at ease today,' said Wie, who began her professional career with a 2-under 70 on Thursday. 'I was trying to make birdie and get back in there. I'm real glad I'm somewhere at the top.'
 
If Wie is to remarkably win in her first event as a pro, she'll have to get by Park.
 
Park four-putted the fourth green from 20 feet for a double bogey, but wasted little time in getting back into the tournament. She ran home an 8-footer for birdie at the fifth, then sank a 15-footer for birdie at seven to make the turn at even-par 36.
 
She began her ascent up the leaderboard with a 3-foot birdie putt at 10. Park made another birdie from 15 feet at the 11th, then made it three in a row with a chip-in birdie at No. 12.
 
Park was within striking distance after the three birdies early on her back nine, but it was her play late on the back nine that perched her atop the leaderboard.
 
At the 15th, Park hit a wedge to 10 feet and drained the birdie putt. She hit an 8-iron to 2 feet to set up birdie at 16, then played a 9-iron to 2 feet to complete another three birdies in a row.
 
Park had a decent look at birdie on the closing hole, but missed her 10-footer.
 
'I'm very excited to be in the position that I'm in,' admitted Park, who was overtaken by Sorenstam in last year's final round. 'Obviously, I had a sour finish last year, but I'm leading again and I hope to have a different story at the end of the tournament.'
 
Park has struggled since her final-round collapse last year. She has battled a disc problem in her back and even this week has found some health problems. Her overzealous pro-am partner got a little aggressive with a high-5 and strained Park's shoulder.
 
'One of those years,' said Park. 'I started out with injuries which kept me out for a month, then I just struggled a little bit and got injured twice more after that. I'm okay now.'
 
Sorenstam broke clear of the field with a short eagle putt at the 12th, but lost a stroke with a three-putt bogey at No. 16. Things got worse at the closing hole.
 
Sorenstam hit an errant drive right into a sand area. She wanted relief from the scoreboard, but the drop spot would not allow her to go after the pin. The rules official explained the ruling several times, yet Sorenstam still wanted a better place to drop. The rule only had to provide her a clear shot, which it did, albeit to the extreme left of the green.
 
The Swede finally dropped and nearly hit the scoreboard, but ultimately came to rest right of the green. She chipped 10 feet past the hole and missed the par save.
 
'I did not get the relief I wanted,' said Sorenstam. 'The scoreboard was in my way. I thought I could get complete relief. I thought that was the rule. They said, 'no, it's a straight shot.' We disagreed.'
 
Catriona Matthew made a big move on Friday. She posted a 6-under 66 and is tied for fifth place with Cristie Kerr, who shot a 1-under 71 in the second round. The pair is knotted at 8-under-par 136.
 
Reigning Women's British Open champion Jeong Jang (68), Rosie Jones (67) and Gloria Park (72) are tied in seventh place at 7-under-par 137.
 
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