Michelle Wie is three wins away from an invitation to the Masters.
The 15-year-old from Hawaii birdied three of the final five holes and beat Jim Renner, 3 and 1, in her second match of the day yesterday to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Public Links in Lebanon, Ohio.
Wie conceded that Augusta National has crept into the back of her mind.
"Obviously I'm thinking about that, but I'm taking it one match at a time," she said.
Wie, the first female to qualify for a men's USGA championship, earlier won, 6 and 5, over C.D. Hockersmith.
Wie, who nearly made the cut on the PGA Tour twice and was tied for the lead last month in the U.S. Women's Open, might be on the verge of her most stunning feat of all.
Augusta National traditionally invites the winner of the Public Links to the Masters, and Chairman Hootie Johnson has said the all-male club would welcome Wie or any other female who qualified.
Wie is confident she will play in the Masters, although she's not sure when.
"I don't feel any kind of urgency," she said. "I'm just playing. Hopefully, I'll get in one of these days. It could happen this year, it could be next year, it could be 20 years down the line."
Wie would have to win two matches for a second straight day to reach the final. She next will play BYU junior Clay Ogden, who defeated Andrew Black of Chattanooga, 3 and 2, in the quarterfinals in the morning. The semifinals are this afternoon, followed by the 36-hole championship tomorrow.
"I was kind of joking and I actually said that I hoped I play her," Ogden said. "And here we go."
So far, she has met every challenge.
Wie avoided an early deficit when Renner missed six-foot birdie tries on his first two holes. She took over from there, going 3 up at the turn with an 18-foot birdie putt at No. 9.
Renner, a junior at Johnson & Wales University in Miami and the NAIA medalist, won two of the next three holes to cut into Wie's lead. But then Wie hit a low 3-iron shot from 220 yards to 15 feet and made the birdie to go 2 up.
"I'd like to see another 15-year-old girl -- or a 15-year-old in general -- do that," Renner said. "There's not many guys in this tournament who can hit that shot."
* PGA TOUR: Rookie Matt Hendrix, playing on his only sponsor exemption of the year, shot a 9-under-par 63 and was tied with Glen Day for the first-round lead at the B.C. Open in Endicott, N.Y.
Mike Springer, Jason Bohn, Ben Crane and Brenden Pappas were all a stroke back at the old En-Joie Golf Club course. Mathias Gronberg, Omar Uresti, Mark Wilson, Chris Smith and Arjun Atwal all had 65s.
* LPGA TOUR: Janice Moodie birdied the final hole to cap a 6-under 66 and held a one-stroke lead over Emily Bastel after the opening round of the Canadian Women's Open in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Bastel aced the par-3 13th at the Glen Arbour course in her career-best 67. Linda Ishii was third after a 68; Brittany Lang, Angela Stanford, Johanna Head, Sherri Turner, Cathy Johnston-Forbes, Mhairi McKay and Il Mi Chung are another stroke back.