Sun, Oct 16, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Park holds lead as Wie confronts bees

PRO GOLF TOUR While Michelle Wie used obscure rules to scratch her way up the leaderboard, Grace Park did it the old-fashioned way -- with skill and, well yes, grace


Grace Park smiles and waves after making a putt for par on the 17th hole during the second round of the LPGA Samsung Championship at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, California, on Friday. Park finished the second round with a score of 11-under-par 133.


Michelle Wie moved into contention with a career-best 7-under 65 at the Samsung World Championship Friday, pulling within two shots of second-round leader Grace Park, who overcame a four-putt double bogey to shoot 66 for her best round of the year.

Wie's day included a fortuitous ruling that gave her relief from a desert bush where a few dozen bees were hovering.

Park, who was at 11-under 133, will be paired with Wie in the final group today.

Annika Sorenstam bogeyed her final two holes for an even-par 71 and joined the group at 135 that included Wie and 19-year-old Paula Creamer.

Wie's tee shot on the par-4 15th lodged at the base of a Gold Lantana plant, and it appeared Wie would have to take a one-shot penalty for an unplayable lie. Instead, she recalled a tournament she watched on television when a player got relief because of fire ants, and summoned rules official Jim Haley.

"They're just honey bees," Haley said when he stooped to inspect the situation.

"I got bit by a honey bee once," Wie replied, then under her breath muttered, "My foot got all swollen."

Haley gave her a free drop under the "Decisions of Golf," which allows for relief when "it is unreasonable to expect the player to play from such a dangerous situation" such as a rattlesnake or bees' nest.

Wie blasted out of the lie where green grass met desert sand, onto the green and escaped with a par.

Sorenstam hit her tee shot into a desert bush on the 18th hole and got relief from a scoreboard between her and the flag. But with the ball above her feet, needing to play a right-to-left shot, Sorenstam wanted more room to drop her ball and was denied by the rules official.

"I don't know how many times you hit a straight shot in golf," she said.

Park, who has missed time on the tour this year to back and neck injuries, had six birdies on the back nine, chipping in on No. 12 and making birdies from inside 2 feet on the 16th and 17th holes.

"I kept telling myself it's never too late to start playing well," Park said. "I'm glad I'm turning it around."

Briny Baird had an "accidental" hole-in-one on his way to a 5-under 66 and a two-shot lead midway through the Michelin Championship.

Two courses, the par-72 TPC at Summerlin, and the par-71 TPC at The Canyons, were used the first two days. The final two rounds will be played at Summerlin.

Baird, one stroke in front beginning his day at The Canyons, was 15 under through two rounds.

Tour rookie Ryan Moore, the 2004 US college and US Amateur champion and 2005 college player of the year while attending the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, birdied six of his first nine holes at The Canyons and finished with an 8-under 63 that pulled him into a five-way tie for second.

US Masters and PGA champion Phil Mickelson failed to make the cut, which came at 6 under. He followed his opening 67 with a 71 to finish at 5-under 138.

Mickelson said coming into the Las Vegas event that he planned to use the tournament to work on some things in his game, and that it was hard to get motivated for regular tournaments after playing the majors.

In the group with Moore at 13 under were Kevin Stadler (66), Paul Goydos (65), Shigeki Maruyama (65), and Bart Bryant (65). Goydos and Maruyama played at Summerlin, the others at The Canyons.

Baird shook his head and smiled as he replayed his ace -- on what he thought was a poor shot -- on the 145-yard 12th hole at the TPC at The Canyons.

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