Michelle Wie teed off on the second hole during the third round of the U.S. Women's Open.

Wie tied at
the top

The Honolulu golfer shares the lead
with fellow teenager Morgan Pressel
and Karen Stupples

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. » Those who came to Cherry Hills wanting to witness history only had to adjust their view yesterday in the U.S. Women's Open.

Annika Sorenstam's bid for the Grand Slam was still a possibility.

Perhaps even more amazing was the sight of two teenagers in pinks shirts and ponytails -- 15-year-old Michelle Wie and 17-year-old Morgan Pressel -- grabbing a three-way share of the lead and standing 18 holes away from a chance to become the youngest major champion in golf history.

Indeed, this was shaping up as a championship for the ages.

"It would be really cool if that happened," said Wie, who used her power to escape some rough spots on her way to a 1-over 72 while playing in the final pairing before a massive crowd that cheered her at every turn.

Pressel made two clutch par saves on the back for a 1-under 70, putting her at 1-over 214 and in the final pairing today with Women's British Open champion Karen Stupples (69), the last woman other than Sorenstam to win a major.

Are the teenagers intimidated?


"I'm baffled by the question," Pressel said. "I've played lots of events. I know how to play golf. People look at age as something that should set me back, but I don't think it does."

Not to be forgotten is 18-year-old Paula Creamer, who last month won her first LPGA title a week before going through high school graduation ceremonies. She bogeyed the last hole for a 72 and was one shot out of the lead, equally poised to take her place in history as the youngest winner of an American major.

"If I'm a veteran, then goodness," Creamer said.

Stupples is 32 -- the combined age of Wie and Pressel -- but is the only player among the top 10 who knows what it's like to win a major. She captured the Women's British Open last year with an eagle-double eagle start at Sunningdale, and thrust herself into contention Saturday with six straight birdies.

Sorenstam is still more than just a subplot to this dynamic championship, but just barely.

Her dream of sweeping the four majors appeared to crash with a three-putt bogey and a four-putt double bogey in a span of four holes early in the third round. But she salvaged a 2-over 73 to finish at 6-over 219, only five shots out of the lead heading into the final round.

Maybe history is on her side.

The last time the U.S. Women's Open was played in Colorado, Sorenstam came from five shots behind to win her first LPGA title 10 years ago. Sixty-two victories and nine majors later, she is still a force.

"I've got 18 more holes to play, and I'm going to give it my all," Sorenstam said.

She was told that Arnold Palmer shot 65 in the final round of the 1960 U.S. Open to make up a seven-shot deficit.

"I know what I've got to do, then," Sorenstam replied.

Michelle Wie reacted after chipping onto the 17th green during the third round at the U.S. Women's Open.

Palmer had to hold off a 20-year-old amateur named Jack Nicklaus. Sorenstam has to catch up to a collection of teenagers and amateurs who see no reason why they can't win the biggest tournament in women's golf.

"My goal in the beginning of the week was to shoot consistent under-par rounds," Wie said. "I haven't really achieved that goal. So, I have readjusted myself, and hopefully, I will shoot under par tomorrow."

The star attraction on a balmy afternoon, the 6-foot Wie never got flustered after bogeys on two of the first four holes, one of those a chip she nearly shanked from the deep rough around the fourth green. She answered by hitting driver on the 539-yard fifth hole for the first time all week, allowing her to reach the green with a 5-iron.

Wie held on to the lead at even par, muscling an approach out of the deep rough to the front of the 14th green. But a 3-wood slightly off its mark caught up with her two holes later when she tried to squeeze another wedge out of the thick grass and went into more rough short of the green, making bogey.

She will be in the second-to-last group Sunday with Birdie Kim, who had a 69. Creamer will be in the group ahead of her with Young Jo (70).

Wie just finished her sophomore year at Punahou School in Honolulu, although she showed off her golf trivia skills when asked if she had ever heard of Catherine Lacoste.

"I actually do," Wie said. "I was watching Golf Channel trivia -- it pays to watch that sometimes. She was the only amateur to win the U.S. Open. It was in 1967."

Pressel first played in the Women's Open at 13, and the high school senior-to-be has been around the lead all week. She stayed there Saturday with a 15-foot par save on the 16th hole, and a good two-putt from the bottom of the 18th green to get into the final group.

Pressel has been peeved at times by all the attention heaped Wie's way. She complained earlier this year that people don't realize other teenagers can play the game just as well.

"I probably haven't gotten as many opportunities in bigger events as she has," Pressel said. "But we're tied going into the last day. And if I play well, I'll get attention."

What they can't get is the $560,000 first-place prize, the largest in women's golf.

Sorenstam is after something bigger, and she hasn't lost hope. But she knows that she will have to make her presence felt quickly Sunday.

"I need to climb on the leaderboard and show them I'm still here and I'm serious," Sorenstam said.

She was on the board early Saturday after making a 35-foot birdie putt on the second hole to get within five shots of the lead. But that's as close as she got.

Sorenstam gunned a 20-foot birdie putt 5 feet past the cup and wound up with a three-putt bogey. Then, it all unraveled on the par-3 sixth with an approach that came up 50 feet short of the hole. Four putts later, she walked off the green with a double bogey.

She played even par the rest of the way and was only five shots behind at the end of the day -- still time left for her to capture the third leg of the Grand Slam and put the kids in their place.

Wie warned for slow play

The final group of Michelle Wie and Nicole Perrot spent a good portion of the front nine on the clock because of slow play.

Tom Meeks, senior director of rules and competition, was in a cart monitoring the group from the fifth fairway when he said that Wie had 40 seconds to hit the shot. Meeks was counting the seconds over a minute when Wie backed off her 5-iron.

"Doesn't matter now. It's a bad time," Meeks said, before speeding off to tell Wie of her bad time.

"I didn't think I was playing that slow," Wie said. "He told me I had a time of 1 minute, 37 seconds. After that, I was running around. I was out of breath."

Perrot didn't handle it much better. She had four bogeys in six holes after learning they were on the clock.

"It was kind of tough to get focused (being timed) all those times," she said.

U.S. Women's Open

At Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
Third round, par-71
a-denotes amateur
Karen Stupples 75-70-69 -- 214
a-Morgan Pressel 71-73-70 -- 214
a-Michelle Wie 69-73-72 -- 214
Birdie Kim 74-72-69 -- 215
Young Jo 74-71-70 -- 215
Paula Creamer 74-69-72 -- 215
Young Kim 73-73-70 -- 216
Angela Stanford 69-74-73 -- 216
Jamie Hullett 75-72-70 -- 217
Candie Kung 73-73-71 -- 217
Cristie Kerr 74-71-72 -- 217
Tina Barrett 73-74-71 -- 218
a-Brittany Lang 69-77-72 -- 218
Liselotte Neumann 70-75-73 -- 218
Nicole Perrot 70-70-78 -- 218
Heather Bowie 77-73-69 -- 219
a-Paige Mackenzie 75-75-69 -- 219
Aree Song 77-70-72 -- 219
Annika Sorenstam 71-75-73 -- 219
Rosie Jones 73-72-74 -- 219
Helen Alfredsson 72-73-74 -- 219
Natalie Gulbis 70-75-74 -- 219
Karine Icher 69-75-75 -- 219
Rachel Hetherington 74-69-76 -- 219
Lorena Ochoa 74-68-77 -- 219
Beth Bader 75-74-71 -- 220
Laura Diaz 75-73-72 -- 220
Meg Mallon 71-74-75 -- 220
Catriona Matthew 73-72-75 -- 220
a-Amanda McCurdy 75-75-71 -- 221
Jennifer Rosales 72-76-73 -- 221
Kim Saiki 74-73-74 -- 221
Mi Hyun Kim 72-73-76 -- 221
Lorie Kane 74-71-76 -- 221
Leta Lindley 73-76-73 -- 222
Karrie Webb 76-73-73 -- 222
Soo Yun Kang 74-74-74 -- 222
Grace Park 76-72-74 -- 222
Hee Won Han 75-72-75 -- 222
Johanna Head 74-73-75 -- 222
Il Mi Chung 75-71-76 -- 222
Kris Tschetter 76-74-73 -- 223
Sarah Huarte 74-76-73 -- 223
Nancy Scranton 78-72-73 -- 223
Gloria Park 74-75-74 -- 223
Wendy Ward 74-74-75 -- 223
Juli Inkster 77-71-75 -- 223
Jeong Jang 76-73-75 -- 224
Sophie Gustafson 71-78-75 -- 224
Sarah Lee 79-70-75 -- 224
Katie Allison 74-74-76 -- 224
Stephanie Louden 76-74-75 -- 225
Suzann Pettersen 76-74-75 -- 225
Katie Futcher 73-76-76 -- 225
a-Amie Cochran 76-69-80 -- 225
Eva Dahllof 78-72-76 -- 226
Dorothy Delasin 80-69-77 -- 226
Brittany Lincicome 74-74-78 -- 226
Se Ri Pak 74-71-81 -- 226
Kaori Higo 74-76-77 -- 227
Carri Wood 78-72-78 -- 228
Candy Hannemann 76-73-80 -- 229
Jean Bartholomew 73-77-81 -- 231

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