Wie (64) on top in British Open
Finishing fast after a slow start, Michelle Wie birdied her last three holes Thursday for an eight-underpar 64 and a one-shot lead in the Women’s British Open at St. Andrews, Scotland.
Wie bogeyed the par-five second hole at Kingsbarns Links, and that was the last of her mistakes. The 27year-old shot 30 on the back nine and wound up one shot ahead of I.K. Kim of South Korea. Lindy Duncan was another shot behind at 66, with Lexi Thompson among those at 67.
Wie, showing no sign of the neck spasms that forced her to withdraw from last month’s U.S Women’s Open, posted nine birdies during a morning round played in almost perfect weather on the eastern coast of Scotland.
Only later did torrential downpours and the threat of lightning twice disrupt play for a total of 74 minutes. Laura Davies was one who suffered from the interruptions. Six under through 14 holes, the 53-year old from England finished in a mildly disappointing 68, the same score posted by Charley Hull, Britain’s top player.
Rory McIlroy had his best friend on the bag and his best start on American soil in 18 months. For Jordan Spieth, it was more of the same with two long birdie putts. Both of them opened at three-under 67 at the Bridgestone Invitational at Akron, Ohio, leaving them two shots behind Thomas Pieters of Belgium.
Pieters, playing only for the sixth time since he challenged briefly at the Masters this year, holed a 30-foot birdie putt on his final hole at Firestone to finish a day of good scoring with a oneshot lead over Russell Knox.
McIlroy split with J.P. Fitzgerald, his caddie of nine years, after the British Open. He decided to use Harry Diamond, who played amateur golf for Ireland and was the best man at McIlroy’s wedding, for the Bridgestone and the PGA Championship next week.
It didn’t have much bearing on McIlroy’s game, which was fine. McIlroy won at Firestone the last time he played it in 2014.
The opening round was no place to lose ground in such good scoring conditions. Dustin Johnson did his part with a 68. He Bubba Watson also showed signs of getting his game turned around and was in the group at 67 that included Kevin Kisner and Jon Rahm.
John Huh made his eighth birdie on his final hole to finish with 15 points and take the one-shot lead over Stuart Appleby and Miguel Angel Carballo after the first round of the Barracuda Championship at Reno, which is run under the modified Stableford format . ... Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry drew quite a crowd to the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic in Hayward, Calif. Curry shot a four-over 74 at TPC Stonebrae in his pro golf debut and is tied for 141st after one round.