Wie ahead by 3 at Pinehurst No. 2

Michelle Wie posted a second straight 2-under-par 68 and took a three-stroke lead over Lexi Thompson midway through the 69th U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, N.C.

Wie, the Stanford grad who has won three times on the LPGA Tour but never a major title, finished on the front nine with birdies on the eighth and ninth holes.

“I can’t complain,” said Wie, who won the LPGA Lotte Championship earlier this year before her home fans in Hawaii. “End of the day (Thursday), I was thinking if I just did this again, that would be nice. But always finishing with two birdies is always great.

“It’s a grind out there. It’s not easy. Really grateful for the par putts that I made and some of the birdie putts that I made. I can’t complain, I’ll take it.”

Thompson, the 19-year-old from Coral Springs, Fla., also finished on the front nine and carded three consecutive birdies through No. 5 while recording her own 68.

Top-ranked Stacy Lewis, the first-round leader with a 67, struggled to a 73 that included six bogeys and was four shots back in a tie for third that included 18-year-old Minjee Lee of Australia, who had a 71, and Amy Yang of South Korea, who came in with a 69.

Na Yeon Choi of South Korea, the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open champion, was five strokes behind in solo sixth after a 70, while Paula Creamer of Pleasanton, the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champ, shot 72 and was another shot back in a tie for seventh with Mariajo Uribe of UCLA and Colombia, who recorded a 70, and Sakura Yokomine of Japan, who finished at 68.

Karrie Webb, the seven-time major champion from Australia, shot 73 and was seven shots behind Wie in a tie for 10th with So Yeon Ryu of South Korea, the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion, who had a 74, Angela Stanford, who posted a 72, and Stephanie Meadow of Northern Ireland, who also had a 72.

Lucy Li of Redwood Shores, the 11-year-old who is the youngest player to qualify for any golf major, finished at 78-78–156 and missed the cut by seven strokes.

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