PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson were the only players under par after two rounds at Pinehurst No. 2, and that's not all they had in common.
Both qualified for their first pro event when they were 12.
Wie earned a spot in an LPGA Tour event in Hawaii when she was in the seventh grade. A year later, she played in the final group at a major, and she was a regular contender in the majors when she was 16.
Thompson qualified for the U.S. Women's Open when she was 12 and won her first LPGA Tour event when she was 16.
Wie is five years older and has a three-shot lead — the largest at 36 holes in the Women's Open since 2003 — going into the weekend. They most recently were linked together two months ago in the first LPGA Tour major, when they were tied going into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship and Thompson won by three.
Too early to be thinking rematch at Pinehurst No. 2?
"Definitely too early," Thompson said with a laugh. "Thirty-six holes in a major, that's a lot of golf to be played, especially at a U.S. Women's Open."
Both shot a 2-under 68 on Friday. Wie was at 4-under 136.
Here are five things to consider going into the weekend:
THE PUTTER: Wie first came to prominence because of her power, though her putting always held her back. Now, the short stick might be her best asset — no matter how strange it might look. She bends so far over the ball that her back is nearly parallel with the ground.
But it works.
She took only 29 putts on Friday, including two big ones. She rolled in a 15-foot par putt on the second hole after going over the green, and then after she thought her putt on No. 6 might go over the back of the green, she made par from 25 feet.
Wie has not had a three-putt in 36 holes on the Donald Ross greens of Pinehurst.
"I think everybody's initial thought was that it's different," Thompson said. "But I tell you what, she's putting a lot better and she seems a lot more confident over her putts, so it's all about how you feel over a putt, what makes it comfortable. It doesn't matter how you look, it matters how you get it in the hole. So good for her."
THE POWER: Maybe it's not a coincidence that the only players under par are two of the most powerful players in the game.
Karrie Webb predicted at the start of the week that the women would have more trouble out of the sandy areas (which replaced rough) filled with tiny bushes and weeds because they don't have the strength as the men at last week's U.S. Open.
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