Michelle Wie passes first test at Pinehurst

David Cannon

With a little help from her Florida friends — PGA Tour stars Keegan Bradley and Rickie Fowler — and their used Pinehurst yardage books, Michelle Wie fires an opening-round 68 at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Michelle Wie knows a thing or two about cramming for exams, so it was only natural that the Stanford grad studied hard for the demanding test that is this week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst.

The books she hit hard were the yardage books Wie cadged from Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley, both of whom took copious notes about their play on the same course a week earlier during the men’s second major of the season.

"Oh, yeah, they were big helps," Wie said Thursday about Fowler and Bradley (who finished T2 and T4, respectively, last week). "They put some really good notes in for me.

"I did a lot of homework," said Wie, who took a lot of flak for staying in college at the expense of her golf course work but has flourished on the LPGA Tour this season and shot an opening-round 2-under 68 to sit a shot behind 18-hole leader Stacy Lewis. "I think it’s the most homework I’ve ever done on a golf course."

Wie -- a proud member of Nerd Nation -- color-coordinated the observations of both players, who are friends from her new home in Florida, as well as those of their caddies.

"Definitely, knowledge is key around here," Wie said on Tuesday, after enjoying Sunday’s "cool golf-nerd experience" of watching Martin Kaymer wrap up his eight-shot, wire-to-wire win. "Just knowing where to miss it, where not to miss it. It's such a unique experience, just to kind of have the information. I think it's going to be very useful, and I'm thankful they gave it to me to use."

Wie’s round on Thursday included five birdies and three bogeys and was her best U.S. Women’s Open opener in 13 starts. The 24-year-old who could tell 11-year-old Lucy Li a bit about being a prodigy earned her third tour victory in Hawaii in April.

Wie came in second to Lexi Thompson at the women’s first grand slam event of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and was not interested in imagining herself lifting her first major trophy come Sunday night.

"I don’t want to think about that. It’s a long road until Sunday," she said. "I’ve had a lot of fun today, it’s great being in contention. I’m going to do my best tomorrow and see what happens.

"If I keep doing what I’m doing now, I’ll be close, and hopefully I’ll be there Sunday having an opportunity," Wie noted. "And that’s really all I can ask for."

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