Lewis leads, but all eyes on Wie
JL Lewis had the early second-round lead at the John Deere Classic after a six-under 65 on Friday.
But with Michelle Wie shooting for history, Lewis knows the only people who will remember he was atop the leaderboard six months from now are his family and maybe some of his friends.
“That doesn’t bother me because it’s pretty phenomenal,” said Lewis, a former Classic winner. “She’s 15 years old.
Let’s face it.
Has there ever been anybody that age, man or woman, that could play in a tour event at age 15? I don’t know. Maybe there is, but I don’t think they’ve ever done it.
“Obviously she can go out and break par,” Lewis added. “More power to her. It’s pretty impressive.”
Lewis is at 13-under 129 for the tournament, leading Hunter Mahan (68) and Shigeki Maruyama (63) by two strokes. Brandt Jobe (66) is at 132.
But all of the leaders know they’re not the story this week. The 15-year-old with the ponytail is.
Wie is trying to become the first woman to make a cut on the United States PGA Tour since Babe Didrikson Zaharias at the 1945 Tucson Open. No other woman even tried until 2003, when Annika Sorenstam played at the Colonial and Suzy Whaley played the Greater Hartford Open. Neither made the cut.
The top 70 pros and ties make the cut, and Wie was one stroke over the line after her one-under 70 in the first round. But the projected cut line was inching downward before Wie teed off in the last group of the afternoon.
“It’s not shocking, really. Attention follows her wherever she goes,” Mahan said. “If she misses the cut, she’s leaving and the tournament returns to the leaders. If she makes it, the leaders are going to be just some guys.”
Wie was impressive in her first round, beating both her playing partners and playing her last 10 holes at three under for her second-best score in a US PGA Tour event. She shot a 68 in the second round of the 2004 Sony Open.
She hit six of her last seven fairways, and showed a nice touch on the greens, missing only one putt from inside 10 feet.
But Lewis and Mahan cautioned that the course is going to be harder on Friday afternoon than Wie found it on Thursday morning. It’s drying out quickly, giving balls more bounce, and it’s playing longer. Pin placements are trickier, too.
“I think [the course] could definitely be a lot different because it is firming up out there,” Mahan said.
Lewis didn’t seem to have much problem with it, though.
The 1999 winner woke up a little late for his 7.30am tee time—he shaved in the car on the way to the course—and didn’t feel quite like himself until the sixth hole. But a birdie there got him going, and he shot a four-under 32 on the back nine.
“I played good,” he said. “I made a few mistakes, but I was able to recover. I got lucky a few times and then I made some good putts ... It’s fun when the ball goes in the hole.”—Sapa-AP