RENO, Nev. (AP) — Michelle Wie insists she isn’t thinking about making the cut for the first time in eight tries on the PGA Tour after taking a 1-over-par 73 into Friday’s second round of the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open.
“If you think about making the cut, then that’s all that you think about,” said Wie, who is playing on the men’s tour for the first time since January 2007 and is eight shots behind the leader Jeff Overton, who had eight birdies en route to a 7-under-par 65.
“You start thinking about what position you are in and you stop and think about what you have to do,” Wie said. “All I’m going to think about is making more birdies and not making bogeys.”
The 18-year-old put herself in contention to move on to the weekend by posting three birdies, four bogeys and rallying to save par on several holes on Thursday at the 7,472-yard mountain course at Montreux Golf & Country Club on the edge of the Sierra Nevada.
“I felt like I grinded really well,” she said.
The cut has averaged even par in the nine previous years of the Reno tournament, which runs opposite the Bridgestone Invitational – where the top 50 men are playing in Ohio.
Overton, an All-Big Ten golfer at Indiana, birdied four of the first five holes on Thursday and made seven birdie putts from 10 feet or closer – to go with a bogey that gave him a two-shot lead over Harrison Frazar, Brian Davis, Marco Dawson and John Merrick at 67.
“I hit it into four, five, six feet several holes in a row,” Overton said. “I birdied all the par 5s, which is huge.”
Omar Uresti, who aced the 176-yard, par-3 16th, was in a group at 68 that included 1987 Masters winner Larry Mize.
Wie’s round equaled Steve Elkington and bettered Jeff Maggert (75) and David Duval (78). She hit one pin on the fly from 65 yards and another on one hop from 85 yards, the latter leading to a 6-foot birdie putt on the 616-yard, par-5 ninth that brought a smile and a fist pump as the crowd cheered.
“It shows my irons are getting better,” she said. “The gallery was great today. They cheered me on.”
Wie said she has paid no attention to criticism from some LPGA Tour players and others for teeing it up again with the men.
“Whether it was the right decision or wrong decision, it is a decision I made,” she said.
“I’m not going to think about what other people think about me. All I’m going to think about is how I’m going to shoot a better score tomorrow and how I’m going to shoot a low number and I think a low number will take care of everything.”
More than 400 people – the biggest gallery on the course – crowded around the first tee where Wie drove the ball into the left rough. She managed to hit a 6-iron 195 yards onto the front of the green, but carded a bogey after she left her first putt 20 feet short.
She also bogeyed the par-4 fifth before she hit her approach 160 yards to within 5 feet of the pin and sank the birdie on the par-4 sixth. She saved par on the difficult 220-yard, par-3 No. 7 after getting out of the sand to within 13 feet and did it again on No. 8 with a two putt from 50 feet after she hit a ponderosa pine tree off the tee and a deputy sheriff confiscated a cell phone from a fan who took her picture during her back swing from the rough.
On the back nine, she bogeyed the par-3 12th after hitting her tee shot in a bunker and averted another on the next hole with a 10-foot putt to save par. She missed the green on the par-3 16th and failed to convert a 10-foot par putt.
But she came back with a birdie on the par-5 17th after she drove the ball 316 yards and hit her third shot 57 yards to inside 2 feet of the pin.
On the last hole, she made another sand save, again hitting inside 2 feet of the hole from a bunker fronting the green.