Wie bit of brilliance to finish offers fresh hope for Hawaiian - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Wie bit of brilliance to finish offers fresh hope for Hawaiian

Michelle Wie and hype go together like Tiger Woods and fire hydrants so perhaps it was no surprise to find the excitement threatening to burst forth here last night as the Hawaiian soared high up the Ricoh Women's British Open leaderboard. But, in fairness, this was Wie's best start to a major in more than four years.

The British galleries have been waiting for this sort of display ever since she came third here five years ago as a 15-year-old amateur. And the climax to her 70 did nothing but raise the anticipation of another contending weekend on the Lancashire links. Wie reduced Birkdale's two famous closing par fives to seven shots, her 20-footer for eagle on the 18th effecting the biggest cheer of the day.

From standing at one-over on the 17th tee, Wie signed for a two-under total to put herself in the highest position after a major first round since the US Women's Open at Newport in 2006. For a girl who enjoyed seven top 10s in her first 11 majors and then none in the next four seasons, it has plainly been too long. The manner of her round at least hinted at a return to the good young days.

Wie began with a bogey and proceeded to miss birdie chance after birdie chance in a run of 15 pars. The old Wie – if you can even be considered old at 20 – would have buckled in frustration. Now, in her own words: "I remained patient." Is it far too early to claim this as the new Wie?

In truth, they did so last year when she broke her maiden tag by winning in Mexico. That together with a starring role in the Solheim Cup inevitably led to the "finally realising her talents" headlines. This year Wie has reverted to mediocrity. Last week at the Evian Masters was all too representative of an under-achieving campaign. Beginning with an encouraging 68 she followed it up with a familiar 77. Today will be the time to predict whether this is a resurgence or just another blip.

Alas, it was hard to ascertain how Wie is feeling about it all as her press conference was a succession of guarded answers. For a girl who has been through so much, she says so little, although perhaps the two are inextricably linked. "You can't look forward, you can't look back," said Wie when quizzed as to how good it felt to be back on the big-time leaderboard. "You just have to go out there and stay in the present and hit one shot at a time." Let us just pray she is rather more electrifying inside the ropes.

Wie will have to be if she is to see off rivals including the two-time major winner Yani Tseng, of Taiwan, on four-under and a group including big-hitting Brittany Lincicome on three-under. All of these pacesetters went out in the brighter conditions of the afternoon and those on the wrong side of the draw – such as the evergreen 46-year-old Laura Davies, on level – will be hoping the luck goes flip flop today. Wie knows all about that.

Leaderboard

68 Y Tseng (Tai)

69 A-L Caudal (Fr); B Lincicome (US); A Yang (S Kor); Sun Young-Yoo (S Kor)

70 Kim In-Kyung (S Kor); M Wie (US)

71 J Inkster (US); B Lang (US); S Lewis (US); G Nocera (Fr); Jiyai Shin (S Kor)

Par L T Brooky (NZ); L Davies (GB); Han Hee-won (S Kor); A Nordqvist (Swe)

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future