Wie stumbles but survives cut in Fields Open

Katherine Hull, Corning Classic
Maria Strinni Gill/AP
Katherine Hull made birdies on 17 and 18 to shoot a four-under 68.

KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) — With several cars lined up behind her, Michelle Wie sunk her shoes into the pavement and addressed the ball, nestled between the rough and the concrete curb.

"I was just kind of scared for my wrist a little there,'' said Wie, who used a 7-iron to successfully poke the ball through the palm trees to the front of the 11th green.

While she settled for a bogey, that would be a defining shot.

"I was really confident with that shot. I just really trusted myself,'' she said.

Wie made the cut with two strokes to spare in the Fields Open, following her opening 3-under 69 with a 73 that left her 10 strokes behind leader Jeong Jang heading into Saturday's final round.

While she's tied for 41st place, Wie may have already won. She seems to have found her game.

"It's in me. I just have to bring it out,'' she said.

The 18-year-old Wie scrambled for three birdies and four bogeys, but wasn't as sharp as her opening round Thursday when she broke 70 for the first time since the Evian Ladies Masters in July 2006.

Wie didn't see it that way and was gleaming about her round.

She qualified for the weekend for the first time since last year's Evian, where she closed with rounds of 84 and 76 to tie for 69th.

"I feel like I'm a little rusty from tournament golf. I felt with the two really solid rounds under my belt, I just feel like I'm getting better and better,'' she said. "It's going to get better.''

Maybe because it couldn't get much worse.

She injured both wrists last year but kept playing and struggling. She made only two cuts in 2007 and finished 19th in a 20-player field at the Samsung World Championship in October, her final event of the year. In eight starts against women, she withdrew twice and only broke par twice in 19 rounds.

"Everything is coming back together - the long game, the short game, the putting - It's all just coming back,'' she said.

Playing in front of a large gallery on her home island of Oahu, Wie is starting the season against the women for the first time in five years. She previously opened at the PGA Tour's Sony Open where she nearly made the cut as a 14-year-old. She wasn't invited to Waialae this year.

Wie has played well at Ko Olina, missing a playoff by a shot in the inaugural event in 2006.

Jang, who had a 64 Thursday, had seven birdies and four bogeys in a 68 to reach 12-under 132. The 2005 Women's British Open champion was a stroke ahead of fellow South Korean Song-Hee Kim (64).

Paula Creamer (68) was third at 10 under, followed by Lindsey Wright (66).

Annika Sorenstam, trying to complete a Hawaiian sweep after winning at the season-opening SBS Open at Turtle Bay for her 70th LPGA Tour title, birdied four of the final six holes for a bogey-free 66 to put her in the hunt at 8 under with Angela Stanford (69) and Minea Blomqvist (65).

"I have a lot of work to do,'' Sorenstam said. "I hope to get off to a good start. I'm going to need to go pretty low.''

Sorenstam is healthy and confident again after coming off an injury-shortened season in 2007 where the Swedish star was winless for the first time since her rookie season in 1994.

Jang started the day with a two-stroke lead over Creamer and tried to stay aggressive, paying for it on a couple of holes. The 27-year-old made a 30-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 fourth and hit a 7-iron off the tee on the par-3 eighth to 15 feet to reach 11 under.

She missed the greens for bogeys on Nos. 9 and 10 that dropped her a stroke behind Kim. Jang then birdied three of her next four holes to regain the outright lead at 12 under.

Jang said she hoping to block out all the distractions Saturday, just like she did when she won the British.

"I kept thinking to myself, I want to focus on golf and myself, and it worked,'' she said.

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