OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (AP) — Michelle Wie launched a 3-wood into swirling gusts and toward the 18th green, wondering if the shot had enough steam to get there. A shift in the wind took the guesswork out of the equation.
“It died down and I got a little surprise,” Wie said. “I got all the way there.”
The 215-yard shot rolled within 30 feet of the flag to set up a two-putt birdie and a 3-under 68 that left Wie two shots off the lead during the opening round Thursday in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She wasn’t the only long-hitter to benefit from windy conditions and a tough front nine at Olympia Fields Country Club.
Defending champion Brooke Henderson matched the 3-under start, which left her two back of Chella Choi and Amy Yang. Choi shot a 66 in the morning, and Yang was on the 18th hole at 5 under with a chance to grab the outright lead when play was suspended at 7:01 p.m. because of dangerous weather in the area.
Brittany Altomare shot a 67, and Joanna Klatten also was 4 under with two holes left.
Joining Henderson and Wie at 68 were Alison Lee and Su Oh. Kim Kaufman and Emily Pedersen also were 3 under late in their rounds.
“I was able to carry a couple of fairway bunkers, which is huge, because not a lot of players are able to do that,” Henderson said.
The second major on the women’s tour is again being played at the site of previous men’s majors, where big tee shots can pay big dividends. Henderson won her first major at Sahalee last year, and Wie claimed her only major — the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open — at Pinehurst.
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