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
PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible