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OLYMPIA FIELDS, Illinois (Reuters) - Michelle Wie generates as much power as any woman golfer on the planet, which might explain why she was so reluctant to talk about the 11-wood she put in her bag for the first time at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Wie, who ended the second round three strokes behind halfway leaders Kim Sei-young and Danielle Kang at Olympia Fields on Friday, had trouble deciding what to hit for her second shot at the final hole, after slicing her tee shot into deep rough.
“I think it’ll be plenty,” she said to her caddie about the club of choice, their conversation audible to nearby spectators including her father. “I’m going to hit down on it. It’ll come out hot.”
After two practice swings, Wie took an almighty slash at her ball, but it did not come out hot. It found a bunker in front of the green, leading to a closing bogey.
Asked what clubs she had been torn between hitting, Wie was vague.
“Just had a really bad lie. Just wanted to make sure I got it out there,” she said.
Pressed on what she had hit, Wie smiled and finally spilled the beans.
“An 11-wood,” she said, breaking into raucous laughter. “I love it. It’s so easy to hit. It’s easier to hit than a blade five-iron, let me tell you that.”
Female professionals generally carry more woods than their male counterparts because they generate less clubhead speed.
After spending last year in the wilderness, Wie has found her game again after changing her stock shot to a power fade, which sometimes turns into a slice, but at least takes the left side of the course out of play.
She is still the biggest box office attraction on the LPGA Tour, at least in the United States, and a gallery of about 100 followed her on her back nine late on Friday.
Wie, 27, could not get a birdie putt to fall, but she avoided the problem at her 15th hole, the par-five sixth, by chipping in from 45 feet.
“Get in,” several spectators yelled as the ball made a beeline for the hole before dropping in.
“I was in a situation where I didn’t want to be,” she said. “I hit a flop shot and it worked out perfectly.”
Wie, whose four LPGA victories include the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, finished second to Annika Sorenstam at the 2005 Women’s PGA Championship when she was a precocious 15-year-old amateur.
She goes into Saturday’s third round at four-under 138, poised to challenge again for the title, only this time with an 11-wood in her bag.
Editing by Peter Rutherford