For all the interest in the men and women playing Pinehurst No. 2 in consecutive weeks, Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson made the U.S. Women’s Open more closely resemble the first LPGA Tour major of the year.
Wie held it together with two key par putts and finished with back-to-back birdies for a 2-under 68. Thompson powered her way out of the sand and weeds and ran off three consecutive birdies to match Wie for the lowest score Friday in Pinehurst, N.C.
They were the only players still under par going into the weekend, perhaps setting up a rematch from the first major of the year. Thompson soundly beat Wie in the final round at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
On Friday, Wie twice thought her shots were going off the turtleback greens, and twice she relied on her table-top putting stance to make long par saves. She finished with a 6-iron that set up a 12-foot birdie putt, and a 15-foot birdie on the par-5 ninth to reach 4-under 136.
From the sand and bushes left of the fairway on the par-5 fifth hole, Thompson blasted a 5-iron from 195 yards just off the green, setting up two putts for birdie from about 60 feet. That was her third consecutive birdie, and she closed with four pars to reach 139.
Stacy Lewis, the No. 1 player in women’s golf who opened with a bogey-free 67, picked up a bogey on her first hole in a wild round of six bogeys, three birdies and a tough 73.
Lucy Li, the precocious 11-year-old and youngest qualifier in the history of the U.S. Women’s Open started with a double bogey for the second consecutive day and shot another 78 to miss the cut.
Jessica Porvasnik, a Highland High School graduate and freshman at Ohio State University, shot a 12-over-par 82 and missed the cut at 21-over 161.
Scott Langley took the second-round lead in the Travelers Championship, following his opening 64 with a 65 to reach 11-under 129.
Winless in two seasons on the PGA Tour, the 25-year-old Langley had eight birdies, a double bogey and a bogey in the second round at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.
Michael Putnam, Harris English and K.J. Choi were a stroke behind. Putnam had a 63, the best round of the day. English shot 64, and Choi 65.
First-round leader Brendan Steele had a 69 and topped a group at 9 under.
Defending champion Ken Duke was 3 under after a 72.
Tom Lehman birdied four holes in a row and finished with a bogey-free 7-under 65 to take the first-round lead in the Champions Tour’s Encompass Championship in Glenview, Ill.
Finishing on the front nine, Lehman birdied Nos. 4-7 and closed with two pars at North Shore Country Club. The 55-year-old Minnesotan nearly holed out for an eagle on the par-5 sixth, leaving a 6-inch putt, and ran in a 15-footer on the par-3 seventh. He won the last of his seven Champions Tour titles in 2012.
Doug Garwood and England’s Roger Chapman were a stroke behind at 66, and Mark O’Meara, Sandy Lyle, Jeff Sluman, Michael Allen, Bart Bryant, Kirk Triplett and John Inman shot 67.
Mikko Ilonen of Finland opened up a 2-stroke lead at the Irish Open at the end of the second round as Rory McIlroy failed to make the cut by 1 shot.
Ilonen added a 3-under 68 to his opening-round course record of 64 to move to 10 under on the Fota Island Resort course in Cork, Ireland.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (66), England’s Robert Rock (66) and Frenchman Romain Wattel (65) share second place at 8 under while triple major winner Padraig Harrington (67) is tied for eighth at 6 under.
McIlroy’s second round 69 was a mix of a 10th hole eagle, six birdies and a double bogey at No. 4 for an overall 1-over 143.