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Saturday, August 21, 2004



[ LPGA WENDY'S CHAMPIONSHIP ]


art
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Michelle Wie watched her tee shot on the eighth hole of the Wendy's Championship for Children yesterday.


Wie charges into tie
for 15th place

The Hawaii golfer cards a 2 under
par over 142 holes yesterday at
the Wendy's Championship


DUBLIN, Ohio » Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer have seen a lot of each other this summer.

The two teen golf sensations have played against each other and with each other over the past several months. They don't go very far without someone asking about their budding rivalry.

And after two rounds of the Wendy's Championship for Children their names are right next to each other on the leaderboard.

Wie rebounded from a rough rain-shortened opening day, where she was 3 over after 10 holes, to shoot 5 under the rest of the way and reach the clubhouse at day's end with a 2-under 142. It was good for a tie for 15th place.

"I started off 3 over, and I thought, 'I have to make a lot of birdies,' " Wie said. "The course was going to be pretty wet and the greens were going to be really receptive. I thought it might be my moving day.

"I was hitting the ball really good. It's nice to play 27 holes when you're playing good."

The 16-year-old Creamer fired a 70 to follow up Thursday's 72.

Suzann Pettersen is the leader heading into the weekend after posting a 67-68--135, one stroke ahead of Reilley Rankin and defending tournament champion Hee-Won Han.

Rankin had the best round of the day, shooting a sizzling 65.

Han won on this course last year and this week has picked up right where she left off. Veterans Lori Kane (69-70--139) and Meg Mallon (73-68--141) are ahead of the teens as well.

But Wie and Creamer have positioned themselves to make some noise this weekend.

"I felt great today," said Wie. "I hit my irons today. I felt like it was going to go 3 feet from the hole every time, so it's nice when I play like that."

Wie double-bogeyed the final hole she played on Thursday and was glad she had a chance to regroup overnight.

"You wish that double never happened but I think it was good because I wasn't playing that well," the 14-year-old said. "Then it's good to have a whole night to get over that hole. Usually you have to get over that hole in like five seconds."

Wie finished the final eight holes of her first round with three birdies and a bogey, ending the round with a 1-over 73. She made three birdies in a row, on holes 3, 4 and 5, early in the second round, showing that she had indeed put Thursday's bad day behind her.

Wie double-bogeyed No. 8, but regrouped to post an eagle on the par-5 No. 9, making an 8-foot putt. After a birdie on 10 and a bogey on 16, she closed out her round -- and her long day -- with a birdie on 18.

"The greens were really firm yesterday and plus the wind was blowing, and it would hit the green and go over. I didn't give myself a lot of birdie opportunities yesterday," Wie said. "I think we saw the difference today. The greens were a little bit more receptive and it all worked out."

Wie said she liked playing the wet Tartan Fields course, and Creamer agreed.

"(There were) tough conditions out there and you have to be mentally tough," Creamer said. "I don't mind playing in the rain. I like that, it's fine."

Creamer's actually had the best LPGA finish of the two teens -- losing to Cristie Kerr at the ShopRite Classic on the final hole. Wie and Creamer finished with top amateur honors at the U.S. Women's Open, tied for 13th, and teamed to help the U.S. win the top trophy in women's amateur play at the Curtis Cup.

And now they head into the weekend in the top 20 of an LPGA event, starting today with the same score.

"I got to get really close to her (at the Curtis Cup) and I'm not really sure if there's going to be a rivalry or not," Wie said. "I'm not going to think about it. I'm not really sure what's going to happen."

Creamer isn't buying into the hype of a rivalry, yet.

"If she's competition, she's competition," Creamer said. "When you win a tournament, you beat everybody in the field."


Ladies Professional Golf Association
www.lpga.com

Wendy's Championship for Children
www.wendyschampionship.com

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