Michelle Wie teed off on the third hole yesterday at the Samsung World Championship in Palm Desert, Calif.
Sorenstam tied for lead; Wie 8 back after even par
PALM DESERT, Calif. » Annika Sorenstam pulled away early and had to catch up late yesterday on what turned out to be a tumultuous second round for just about everyone in the Samsung World Championship.
When it ended as clouds began to hover over Bighorn, Sorenstam nearly holed a sand wedge on the 18th hole for a tap-in birdie that salvaged a 1-under 71 and left her atop the leaderboard with Sophie Gustafson (70) and Paula Creamer (68).
They were at 6-under 138, one shot ahead of Women's British Open champion Sherri Steinhauer, who shot a bogey-free 67.
Lorena Ochoa (73) and Karrie Webb (69) were at 4-under 140 and faced a big weekend as Nos. 1-2 on the LPGA Tour money list and in the Player-of-the-Year race.
Michelle Wie had more adventures in the desert, joining caddie Fanny Sunesson in a rock removal project on the third hole to find a place in the sand to drop her ball, then taking
double bogey when a pitch shot slammed into the bottom of the pin and caromed back some 10 feet. She took one other drop in desert fauna -- that makes six rulings in two days -- and shot 72 to finish eight shots behind.
"Is today Friday the 13th?" Wie said after her round. "Scary."
It sure looked scary for the rest of the 20-player field early in the round when Sorenstam hit a 9-iron to 11 feet for birdie on the second hole, then got up-and-down from a greenside bunker on the par-5 third for another birdie that gave her a quick lead at a tournament she is trying to win for a record sixth time.
More good luck came her way on No. 5, when she pulled a 6-iron, got a good bounce and watched the ball roll to about a foot for her third birdie of the round.
Everything changed just as quickly.
Coming off a three-putt bogey on the par-3 eighth, Sorenstam pulled her next tee shot into a desert bush and had nowhere to drop. She finally chose the cart path, which was a risky move. If it bounced sideways into the bush, it would be in play and she would have to take another penalty stroke. Holding her arm steady for the drop, it might have been her best move of the day.
"It was the most consistent," she said. "Both landed in the same place."
They settled outside the two club lengths she was allowed, so she was able to place it on the path and then take free relief onto the grass. But that was the only good news on No. 9, as Sorenstam came up short of the green, chipped weakly and made double bogey.
For Wie, any hopes of a normal round at Bighorn ended on the par-5 third hole when Wie hit her drive so far to the right that she hit a provision in case it was lost. They found it, which was no bargain. It was buried in a desert bush, and the only place to drop was in a sandy area loaded with rocks.
As rules official Janet Lindsay looked on, Sunesson began picking up miniature boulders and heaving them out of the way to make room for a drop. Some of the rocks weighed close to 10 pounds, and before long, Wie bent over and started grabbing baseball-sized rocks and tossing them aside.
If her drop didn't roll all the way down the slope, it would have landed in another bush. It was close, but Sunesson wisely chose a sand wedge to measure the two club lengths and Wie was able to place the ball in the sand. It was a good break, but it didn't last long when the ball banged off the pin.
Points fires 64 in Vegas
LAS VEGAS » D.A. Points trimmed another eight shots off par to open a two-stroke lead midway through the Frys.com Open.
Points shot a second-round 64 at TPC Summerlin to go with his opening 65 at the par-71 TPC Canyons course. At 14-under 129, he led Todd Fischer, Tom Pernice Jr. and Aaron Baddeley by two strokes.
Play was halted because of darkness with 22 players, none near the lead, still on the course.
Purtzer, Haas, Mast share lead
SPRING, Texas » Tom Purtzer, Jay Haas and Dick Mast shot 7-under 65s to share the first-round lead in the Champions Tour's Administaff Small Business Classic.
The leaders shared the day with Arnold Palmer, the 77-year-old star who announced after the round that he would no longer play competitive golf.
Palmer hit two balls into the water on the fourth hole yesterday, then said he was withdrawing because of a sore lower back. He continued playing with his threesome of Lee Trevino and John Mahaffey but didn't keep score the rest of the round.
Goosen up by 3
SANYA, China » Defending champion Retief Goosen shot a 7-under 65 to take a three-stroke lead over Michael Campbell and Lu Wen-teh in the China Masters.