Reprinted from yesterday's editions
Annika Sorenstam said she didn't get much sleep during a stormy Thursday night before coming back to the rain-soaked Orchards Golf Club early Friday morning. She had an immediate wake-up call in the 59th U.S. Women's Open with a double bogey on the first of 21 holes she had to play.
It was the equivalent of an ice water splash to the face, and she was razor-sharp the rest of the day. Aiming for a third Open title and her second straight major championship, Sorenstam, at 3-under 139, pushed toward the top of the leader board with a second round of 68 marred only by a rare three-putt bogey at her 17th hole. By day's end, she was only two shots behind 36-hole leader Jennifer Rosales, the Filipino who began her second round with three straight birdies on the way to a 67 and 5-under 137.
"I didn't get a lot of sleep," said Sorenstam. "I got up at 4:30 [a.m.], play a few holes, make a quick turn and then go out and play a really tough golf course where you're out there grinding on every shot for five hours. It totally wears you out."
Rosales, who favors splashy headbands, sports several colorful tattoos and seems a bundle of nervous energy, held a one-shot lead over 22-year-old Candie Kung and veteran Kim Saiki, who won for the first time in 13 years on the LPGA Tour just last week in Pittsford, N.Y. Saiki missed sharing the halfway lead when she barely missed a 10-foot putt for par on the difficult 412-yard 18th and settled for 68 -- 138, tied with Kung (68), a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour last season.
It was a day of great adventure for 14-year-old amateur Michelle Wie, the youngest player in the field, and arguably the most charismatic. She was 3 under for the tournament with three to play until she made a sloppy double bogey at the brutal 439-yard 16th. She also had six birdies and ended with a 71-141, four shots off the lead and tied for ninth with her new friend, 17-year-old amateur Paula Creamer, at 69 -- 141.
First-round leader Brittany Lincicome was not as fortunate. The 18-year-old amateur from Seminole, Fla., had four bogeys in a five-hole stretch in the middle of her round and followed her course-record 66 with a 77, leaving her at 1-over 143 in her first Open.
On Thursday, she cried when she made eagle from the rough at the 15th hole; Friday evening, she was smiling when she said: "I hit the ball really good off the tee. But every time I thought I was going to make a putt, it burned the edge or lipped out. . . . I tried to be as normal as possible this morning, but maybe it got to me more than I thought. It's a little overwhelming the first time here . . . but I'm gonna have a blast tomorrow."
Wie seemed not the least bit overwhelmed Friday save for an out-of-nowhere question after her round from a South Korean journalist asking her to comment on the recent beheading of a South Korean citizen by terrorists in Saudi Arabia. Wie, a Korean American born in Hawaii, seemed slightly flustered and said, "I'm not really into politics. I'm just a golfer, you guys."
With a massive gallery in tow, Wie occasionally struggled with her driving, including a wildly wayward tee shot at the 402-yard 14th hole pulled into the woods down the left side. Wie hit a provisional tee shot in case her ball could not be found, but when she trudged into the woods, it had been located in the middle of a patch of poison ivy.
Wearing shorts this warm, humid day, she said she asked a rules official assigned to her group "can I get relief from that, please?" She was told no, but decided to risk trying to hack her way out to the fairway. She did just that, knocked her third shot to within 15 feet and just barely missed the par putt "that should have gone in."
Wie got that stroke right back with a 10-foot birdie putt at the 377-yard 15th to get back to 3 under, but her balky driver at the difficult 16th -- where only 17 players reached the green in regulation -- found the rough, forcing her to lay up a second shot rather than risk flirting with a creek guarding the green. Wie said she thought she hit a perfect third shot -- wedge from 87 yards -- toward the flag, only to gasp when her ball flew the green and landed in a thick patch of rough. She pitched her fourth 20 feet past the hole and missed the bogey putt before parring her final two holes.
"I had a couple of ups and downs," Wie said. "But for tomorrow, if I just get rid of the downs then I'll be good. . . . I think I played great today. . . . I feel really good about my game coming into the weekend. . . . Last year, I was frantically going at every pin. That's not good on a U.S. Open course . . . you just leave yourself a horrible shot. I'm just looking at the middle of the green. . . . I have a lot more strategy."
Because greens were softened by the pounding Thursday and overnight rains, Sorenstam said she felt comfortable firing at certain flags, though she added that was extremely difficult on a number of holes with difficult pin positions.
Her double bogey at the crack of dawn also came at the 16th, the first of three holes she had to play to finish off her opening round.
She drove her ball in the rough and also laid up short of the creek. Like Wie, she, too, thought she hit a decent shot into the green.
"It looked like it hit the hole and spun off the green," she said. "I chipped and two-putted for a six. It wasn't the start I had in mind, but I woke up and played really well."
Sorenstam proceeded to hit 17 greens in regulation on her second round, and now leads the field with 32 of 36 for the tournament.
Rosales had six birdies Friday, and took the outright lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on her last hole, the 527-yard No. 9. She hit 15 greens in regulation, a major reason the 25-year-old former Southern California star is leading after 36 holes for the first time in her professional career.
Rosales faded on the weekend at the LPGA last month after starting with a first-round 66. She finished 74-72 to tie for 13th. She was 13th in the Open at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon last year, and tied for seventh at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kan., in 2002.