Wie’s day full of birdies and bees
She posts her best score in an LPGA event and is in a tie for second place
Broadcast times for the Samsung World Championship:
Today: 7 to 8 a.m., NBC; 8 to 10 a.m., the Golf Channel
Tomorrow: 7 to 10 a.m., NBC
PALM DESERT, Calif. » On a day when Michelle Wie posted birdies seemingly at will, the buzz at Bighorn was about how Plan Bee paid off with a par.
Wie shot a second-round 7-under 65 yesterday at the Samsung World Championship. Her best 18 holes on the LPGA Tour moved her into a 9-under second-place tie behind Grace Park, who finished yesterday at 11-under.
Wie, who was scheduled to tee off in the last pairing with Park at 6 a.m. Hawaii time today, shared second place midway through the 20-player tournament with defending champion Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer.
The 16-year-old Punahou junior played better than in the first round Thursday, when she shot a 2-under 70 in her pro debut. One of the big differences yesterday was that Wie -- who fired seven birdies -- did not have a bogey on her card.
In the first round, Wie went the first 13 holes without a bogey (she finished with two Thursday to go with four birdies). Yesterday, the 354-yard par-4 No. 14 looked as if it would sting her again after Wie's tee shot found a bush to the right of the fairway.
When Wie got to her ball, she made an unsavory discovery. Dozens of bees buzzed around it. They turned out to be a blessing.
Wie's memory of something she saw on television led her to ask for relief (moving the ball without penalty), and ended with a favorable judgment and a par for the hole, instead of bogey or worse.
"One day I watched TV, I watched golf," she said. "It was a very rare occasion for me, but I watched it, and I saw this one player, he was in the bush, and he had all of these fire ants in the bush and he got relief. So I remembered that, and I was like, you know, I asked the rule official if I can get a relief because I'm allergic to bees and there were bees all around the bush, and I got a relief."
A savvy move from the grizzled Wie, who is, after all, a veteran of two rounds as a professional.
Lest anyone think there's a little too much gamesmanship involved here, Wie supplied a personal history of her hate affair with bees in her post-round interview with reporters.
She said she's been stung "tons of times. They seem to like me a lot."
The first time was in kindergarten, during nap time, when one got her on an ankle and it became swollen.
Then there was the time at Pearl Country Club, during a tournament five years ago.
"My hand swelled up so big it couldn't fit in my glove, so I had to get a size bigger," she said. "I just swell up real bad. But when I was young I used to get fevers, but that's gotten a lot better."
Her mother, Bo, recalled that Wie managed to finish the tournament in fourth place.
Wie had another encounter with the desert shrubbery yesterday that also resulted in a happy ending (but no bees).
She was already 3-under for the day heading to No. 7 when she knocked a 3-wood second shot behind a bush to the right of the green at the 470-yard par 5. Wie called it unplayable and took a one-stroke penalty for a drop. The ensuing 25-yard chip into the hole was the shot of the day.
"The birdie was a surprise for me -- a good surprise," Wie said.
Her next shot was nearly as spectacular. She popped an 8-iron to less than a foot from the cup at the 162-yard No. 8 and tapped in for a birdie two.
The other birdies were more conventional, with the common theme being short irons to within seven or eight feet of the hole; and unlike Thursday, Wie made a good portion of her scoring putts. She needed just 27 putts to complete the round, compared with 31 on Thursday. Her other stats were similar, except for drive average, which was 20 yards better during the first round (270 to 250).
"I just felt a lot more comfortable today than yesterday," she said. "Yesterday I kind of told myself that I was nervous. It's just a tournament. I guess I was a little more tense yesterday than I was today. But I felt a lot more comfortable today."