WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN
Michelle Wie hit out of a bunker onto the 18th green during the second round of the Women's British Open yesterday.
Wie runs into the rule book
She has two strokes added to her score for hitting a piece of moss with her backswing
LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England » Back when Michelle Wie first burst on the national scene, her father, B.J., lamented how thick the rule book was for golf. Perhaps they should have studied it a bit more.
For the second time in her short professional career, Wie made a mistake that resulted in her being penalized by rules officials. The first time, it resulted in a disqualification in her first event as a pro last October at the Samsung World Championship.
Yesterday, Wie was penalized two strokes for making contact with a piece of moss behind her ball during her backswing while hitting out of a greenside bunker at the 14th.
Wie knew she touched the moss, causing the sand to move, but didn't realize until later that it would cost her two shots. Instead of shooting an even-par 72, Wie carded a second consecutive 74 to find herself 10 shots removed from the lead held by Juli Inkster.
"I thought I played solid today," Wie said. "I just could not get anything going, and it is not good after you play that you add two more shots. The par saves at 17 and 18, basically counted for nothing.
"Well, I knew I hit the moss, but I guess I knew the rule wrong. It is a good learning experience. I had a piece of moss right behind my ball. I knew I hit it, but I did not think it would result in a two-stroke penalty. I thought if you hit through it, then it would be OK.
"But I guess I knew the rule wrong."
Wie was told of the two-stroke penalty after she finished her round.
Wie said, "I am going to have my club 3 feet above the ground from now on in the bunker. You learn it when you are 16. Still, I felt like I rolled the ball a lot better than yesterday. It is just that the greens are very tricky. They are rolling a lot differently than yesterday."
The difference didn't seem to bother first-round leader Inkster. She went out early in the cold, windy conditions and followed up her 6-under 66 on Thursday with an even-par 72. Inkster was three shots clear of Silvia Cavalleri and four shots in front of four others. U.S. Open champion Annika Sorenstam is only five shots off the lead and is tied for seventh with five golfers, including Paula Creamer.
"It was tough this morning," Inkster said. "It was breezy and cold, better than it was on Tuesday and Wednesday. So it was definitely playable. I am still trying to figure out how to play the 18th. It's just a tough hole. I played driver before. Tomorrow, I'm going to play 6-iron short and then go from there."
England's Karen Stupples had a superb round of 69 to finish at 2-under 142. The winner of the Women's British Open in 2004, Stupples managed an eagle on the par-4 16th (343 yards). She holed it from 113 yards.
"I still left an awful lot out on the golf course," Stupples said. "I had 5- to 7-foot putts that really were not going in today or yesterday. If I can just start making those."
Sophie Gustafson shot the round of the day -- a spectacular 67 with three birdies on the front and two coming home. Sweden's Gustafson opened with a 76, but is now back in the hunt with several others at 1-under 143 for the tournament. In 2005, Gustafson finished runner-up to defending champion Jeong Jang.
And don't forget about Sorenstam. The world No. 1 had a roller-coaster round with her early start.
"I had great feel around the greens and my lag putting has been spectacular," Sorenstam said. "It has been a long morning. We have had some tough conditions and you look at it now and they are getting a break, the people who played in the afternoon."
France's Gwladys Nocera -- currently Europe's top player -- was partnered with Wie the first two days. She shot a 73 yesterday after opening with a 70 on Thursday.
"Of course I am intimidated by playing with her -- all of the players are one way or another," said Nocera, who has won three times on the European Tour this year.