February 13, 2009

Wie in position to record breakthrough win

Michelle Wie moved into a share of the lead Friday after two rounds of the SBS Open at Kahuku, Hawaii, her first tournament as a member of the LPGA Tour.

Wie shot a 2-under 70 over the Turtle Bay Resort course on the island of Maui for a two-day total of 136. First-round leader Angela Sanford shared the top spot after firing a 71.

Angela Park (68) was alone in third at 137 and Momoko Ueda (71) was in fourth at 139. Stacy Lewis (70), Vicky Hurst (71), Yani Tseng (75) and Brittany Lang (70) were all at 141.

Saturday's final round will be a showdown between players seeking to be recognized as the top female golfers in the United States.

Stanford won twice in 2008, had 10 top-10 finishes and won $1.1 million.

Wie has been one of the top golfing stories of the decade, beginning with her qualification for the USGA Women's Public Links Championship at age 10 in 2000.

The golfing prodigy had six top-five finishes in 2006 while playing on sponsors' exemptions, but she did not record a victory and became known more for her attempts to compete on the men's tour. Injuries and a sudden rash of poor play caused her to spend time away from the sport during the past two years, but she finished seventh at last autumn's LPGA Qualifying Tournament.

A victory Saturday would be her first as a professional, finally establishing Wie as a legitimate golfing star and putting the spotlight on her and the LPGA Tour as well.