For a while, Michelle Wie was back on her game.
The 17-year-old from Hawaii was 3 under through 10 holes Thursday in the first round of the British Open, trailing leader Lorena Ochoa by one shot. And the right wrist injury that has plagued her for several months seemed a distant memory.
But she bogeyed two of her final five holes to finish at par 73, six back. Her worst shot was at the 523-yard 14th, where she drove to mid fairway then took out her driver again for the second shot. She hit it to the right, and her ball finished in a clump of deep rough, her only bad lie of the day. It was an achievement to move the ball forward, but it ended up short of the green. From there, she chipped 12 feet short and two-putted for bogey 6. Wie finished the round with a 20-foot putt for par.
"I'd say it was probably my best (round) since last summer, when I was really playing solidly," said Wie, who shot a third-round 84 at last weekend's event. "I feel like I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My wrist is getting stronger and stronger. I'm just going to be patient with myself and keep my head on, and see where it takes me."
Annika Sorenstam birdied the last two holes for 72, another step in her return to form after a layoff for disc injuries in her neck and back. She said she was "very, very thrilled" with her progress since the injuries sidelined her for several weeks. The Swede battled the stiffest wind of the day at the Old Course, while World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa compiled her 67 in calm morning conditions. "Maybe I'll have those conditions when I play (this) morning,'' No. 3-ranked Sorenstam said. ''The wind obviously plays a big part on this golf course and makes it difficult."
At 6,638 yards, the course is 641 yards shorter than the one the men played in the 2005 British Open and 295 yards shorter than when John Daly won the world's oldest major in 1995. World No. 4 and U.S. Open champion Cristie Kerr began with back-to-back bogeys and had double bogey on her way to 77. No. 2 Karrie Webb of Australia also was 4 over. Morgan Pressel, who won the year's opening major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, slumped to 5 over after nine holes before finishing at 7-over 80, including nine bogeys.
By the numbers
72 Shot by Sherri Steinhauer, 44, the defending champion, left, who last year became the oldest player to win an event on the LPGA Tour.
20 Minutes Annika Sorenstam's group had to wait at the 13th tee; because several greens are shared between holes, a round can take six hours or longer.
7 Eagles during the first round; five were made at the par-5, 453-yard No. 17, the famed Road Hole, and the others at the par-5, 523-yard 14th hole.