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Wie leads rain-delayed NW Arkansas Championship

June 29, 2014

ROGERS, Arkansas (AP) — Michelle Wie shot her second straight 5-under 66 to take a two-shot lead in the suspended second round of the NW Arkansas Championship on Saturday.

Coming off a victory in the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst, Wie had six birdies and a bogey in her morning round at Pinnacle Country Club.

So Yeon Ryu, paired with Wie, was second after her second straight 67.

All 72 players in the afternoon session were unable to finish on Saturday because of thunderstorms, with second-round play expected to finish early Sunday before the final round begins later in the morning.

Suzann Pettersen, Chella Choi and Line Vedel were three strokes back, and top-ranked and local favorite Stacy Lewis was four shots behind at 6 under.

Pettersen had a 67, Choi shot 65, and Vedel had five holes left.

Lewis birdied four of her first eight holes and finished with a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 9 for a 67. First-round leader Alena Sharp was 4 under overall after 15 holes.

Lewis made the early charge to close within a shot of Sharp. For the second straight day, however, Wie saved her best for the back.

She jumped into contention with a 4-under 31 on the back nine on Friday. After teeing off on the back nine on Saturday, she once again closed with a flurry — birdieing four of her final seven holes to shoot a 4-under 32 and surge into the lead.

Wie put the finishing touch on her round — and quest for a second straight tournament victory — with a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 9.

The performance put the U.S. Women’s Open champion within a round of back-to-back wins for the first time in her LPGA Tour career, not that she showed any signs of stress after reaching 10 under overall.

In fact, shortly after surging into the lead at Pinnacle Country Club, Wie joined PGA Tour pros Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley as part of a social media challenge in dumping a bucket of ice water on herself on the driving range.

Yes, life is good at the moment for Wie.

“I think it comes hand in hand,” Wie said about her winning and revamped attitude. ”... I played really well toward the end of the year last year ... took a lot of time off, took about a month and a half. So, I just felt really refreshed, and I think it comes hand in hand.”

Wie held off Lewis by a shot to win her first major title in the U.S Women’s Open. Playing a group behind Lewis on Saturday, Wie bogeyed her second hole, No. 11, and recovered with a birdie on the par-5 14th.

She followed that with a second straight birdie on a par 5, getting up and down off the fringe on No. 18 to reach 6 under. Her birdie spree followed on the front nine, with large galleries following both Lewis and Wie.

Lewis followed a sluggish first round in which she putted 31 times by needing only 24 putts on Saturday. She stumbled with a bogey out of the greenside bunker on the par-3 fourth hole before recovering with birdies on No. 5 and 9.

“It’s going to have to be something pretty low,” Lewis said. “The way Michelle and a lot of those girls play, they’re not really going to come back to us.”

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