June 22,2014(ISN) – American Michelle Wie’s quest for a first major golf title stumbled on the third day of the US Women’s Open at Pinehurst Resort after a two-over-par round of 72 saw her drop back into a share of the lead with South Korea’s Amy Yang who carded an impressive round of 68.
After recording rounds of 68 of her own on the opening two days to lead the field, Wie endured a frustrating day which saw her drop four shots after the turn to finish on two-under-par for the tournament.
The 24-year-old had looked like she was dealing with the pressure of leading a major quite comfortably after picking up the third birdie of her round at the 10th hole but that was followed by four-straight bogeys before she regained her composure to finish with four pars.
“My swing got away from me for a little bit,” said Wie, who also shared the lead of the US Women’s Open going into the final day in 2005 and 2006 but failed to go on and win the title.
“I made it difficult for myself.
“I didn’t drive it well in a couple of holes and you can’t be in the trees here but I grinded and made a couple of par putts and I can’t complain.
“You don’t sleep well [as leader] but its fun and I’d rather be nervous on the first than not be in contention.
“I’m just grateful to have the opportunity and a chance to win.”
(Michelle Wie endured a frustrating day at Pinehurst, dropping four shots on the back-nine ©Getty Images)
Yang began the day four shots off the lead after negotiating the number two course at Pinehusrt in level par during her opening two rounds.
But the 24-year-old upped her game on what is traditionally known as “moving day” in the majors by sinking six birdies to cruise up the leader board and secure a final day pairing with Wie tomorrow, Sunday.
“I played really solid,” said a confident Yang, despite a bogey on the last that cost her the outright lead.
“My shots were better the last two days, and I had really good speed on the greens.”
American starlet Lexi Thompson began the day leading the chasing pack but a nightmare round that included two double-bogeys and three bogeys saw her finish with a 74 to drop to three-over, five shots off the lead.
Thompson’s struggles contrasted starkly with compatriot Juli Inkster who shot a tournament-best 66 to put herself right back in contention for a third US Women’s Open crown following wins in 1999 and 2002.
(A superb round of 66 has put veteran Juli Inkster in contention for a third win at the US Women’s Open ©Getty Images)
The 53-year-old is chasing her eighth major title overall in what is her final appearance at a US Women’s Open.
“You can think and you can dream all you want,” Inkster said.
“But the bottom line is you’ve got to come out and make the shots.
“And if I’m tied for the lead coming up 18, then maybe I’ll think about it.
“I’ve got a long way to go.
“I’m just going to enjoy the moment and hit a few balls and see what happens.”
Inkster is part of a four-strong group on two-over-par that also includes Australian Minjee Lee, South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi and Stephanie Meadow of Northern Ireland.