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Michelle Wie in contention at U.S. Women's Open

Michelle Wie watches her tee shot on the

Michelle Wie watches her tee shot on the 10th hole during the second round of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament. (July 6, 2012) Credit: AP

KOHLER, Wis. -- If she were a baseball player, someone by now would have unfurled a banner asking, "Is Michelle Wie Over the Hill?"

Don't even think about it, though. Wie showed at the U.S. Women's Open that, at the ripe old age of 22, she still has some game.

Wie shot 6-under-par 66, her best score ever at a U.S. Open and a surprise in a bad year, jumping right into the conversation at Blackwolf Run. For a change, the conversation did not start with "What's wrong with Michelle Wie?" She is 4 under and one shot behind leader Suzann Petterson. Wie had reason to smile Friday, which has lately been her most depressing day of the week.

"It's nice to know that I made the cut, for sure," said the onetime phenom who missed six cuts in her previous seven stroke-play tournaments.

No, no one ever actually reprised the banner that once asked if 19-year-old Met Ed Kranepool was past his prime. But her spiral has raised the idea that Wie might have become a victim of the hype that her family and handlers stoked by signing huge endorsement contracts and entering her in men's tournaments as a teen.

"I'm really grateful for all the opportunities that I have had and all the accomplishments that I did when I was younger. But I really can't live in the past," she said.

She noted that the 66 is now in the past and that she has half an Open left to play. Still, she said earlier in the week that she feels as if she is just beginning, having finished her Stanford degree.

In the second round of this Open, she had 13 one-putt greens, including a 6-foot par save on No. 9 that had her father, B.J., jumping up outside the gallery rope and shouting, "Yes! Woooooo! Woooooo!"

Wie benefited from hitting shots closer to holes and from a more confident putting stroke, sharpened with lessons from two-time Women's Open champion Meg Mallon ("She's like my second mother," she said).

Pettersen, a friend, said: "I must say, playing behind her, I don't think I've ever seen her make as many putts as she did today. She was fist-pumping every putt she looked at. Michelle is awfully talented and has a lot of game."

She also has some missteps to overcome. "I don't know if anyone gave up on me or not. I'm sure some did and some didn't," she said. "But I never gave up on myself, and today was a good reminder to myself of what I can do and that I still have it."

LIers Park, Shon miss cutAnnie Park of Levittown said, "The way I played didn't give me a lot of confidence." She said it with a laugh, meaning she is looking to future Opens despite missing the cut at 21 over.

"I'm glad I had this experience,'' she said. "Every shot really counts. I'm the kind of person who can usually recover, but I learned here that you should try to reduce your mistakes because it's hard to get it back."

Kelly Shon of Port Washington played aggressively to try to make the cut and finished 11 over. "I know I could have played better and I wish my score showed it," she said, adding that she will play in the Women's Amateur qualifier Monday.

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