Wie (64) on top in Bri­tish Open

Los Angeles Times - - THE DAY IN SPORTS - Wire re­ports

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.

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