In the midst of throwing away a four-shot lead, Michelle Wie never lost sight of the big picture at Pinehurst No. 2.
The U.S. Women’s Open rarely goes according to plan, and Saturday was no exception. Wie knows that from experience long ago, and she settled down with four important pars to wind up with a 54-hole share of the lead for the third time in her career.
Wie was a teenager the other two times. Now at 24, she was one round away from capturing her first major.
“I’m just grateful for another opportunity,” Wie said after salvaging a 2-over 72 to tie Amy Yang. “Tomorrow I’m going to play as hard as I can and hope for the best.”
Yang, who earned a spot in the final group for the second time in three years, didn’t make a par until the eighth hole in a wild round so typical of this day. Only a sloppy bogey on the final hole cost her the outright lead, though she was more than happy with a 68.
They were at 2-under 208, the only players still under par.
A pivotal moment for Wie came on the 12th hole. She reached 6 under for the tournament with back-to-back birdies at the turn. She made her first double-bogey of the tournament with a tee shot she hooked into the pine trees on the 11th. Her next drive sailed well to the right and settled on a sandy path. Instead of punching under the trees and over the bunker to the green — anything long is a tough up-and-down — she pitched out to the fairway and made bogey.
“U.S. Opens are tough,” she said. “I feel like maybe on a different golf course, I would have taken that chance. You just don’t want to be too greedy out here. Even though you make bogey, sometimes you just don’t want to make a double out here. I felt like I made the right decision there.”
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