Wie surges three clear after second straight 68

Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:12pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Michelle Wie stamped her authority on the U.S. Women's Open at the halfway stage when she raced into a three-shot lead over fellow American Lexi Thompson after the second round in Pinehurst, North Carolina on Friday.

On a day when 11-year-old Lucy Li played respectably but missed the cut, former child prodigy Wie birdied her final two holes, rolling in a curling 15-footer at the last with her stooped cross-handed putting style for a second consecutive two-under-par 68 at Pinehurst No. 2 Course.

She posted a four-under 136 total, while Thompson also shot 68 to end the day the only other player under par, setting the stage for a possible battle with Wie for the second successive major.

Thompson won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April, while Wie finished second after the pair started the final round tied for the lead.

First round leader, American Stacy Lewis, carded 73 to slip four strokes behind with South Korean Yang Amy (69) and Australian amateur Minjee Lee (71).

"Yesterday I was thinking if I just did this again, that would be nice," Wie told reporters.

"It's a grind out there. (I'm) really grateful for the par putts that I made and some of the birdie putts that I made."

Wie, 24, has been playing in the U.S. Open since 2003, so she understands that the halfway lead does guarantee anything.

"Being in contention, having the clubhouse lead for now, I'm just really excited for the weekend," she continued.   Continued...

Michelle Wie of the U.S. tees off on the third tee during the final round of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic women's golf tournament at the Grey Silo course in Waterloo, June 8, 2014.    REUTERS/Mark Blinch