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Wie West back on leaderboard at ANA Inspiration

Wie West

The Associated Press

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Michelle Wie West was back on a major championship leaderboard Thursday at the ANA Inspiration.

Playing for the second straight week after a 21-month break, Wie West shot a 2-under 70, leaving the Honolulu native four strokes behind leader Patty Tavatanakit.

“Came into the day like, ‘OK, no stress today, easy golf,’ “ Wie West said. “And the first couple holes were not easy golf. I’m just happy to see my name on the first page of the leaderboard. That’s really special to me. Been a long time since I’ve seen that.”

Wie West was in the second group off the 10th tee, opening to little fanfare with no spectators at Mission Hills for the 50th edition of the event.

“It’s definitely weird. It doesn’t have the same vibe,” she said. “The first tee was the most shocking one where you don’t walk through a tunnel, don’t have the grandstands really close by.”

Wie West first played the event in 2003, tying for ninth at age 13.

“I have to say today was a bit like when I was 13,” Wie West said. “I kind of hit it all over the place and grinded a bit out there. But that feels good. I think that’s kind of how I play.”

Wie West three-putted for bogey on 10, nearly aced the 13th for a birdie, and made three straight long birdie putts on Nos. 10-12. She missed a 2-foot par putt on No. 6 and parred the final three. Last week in Carlsbad, she missed the cut in the Kia Classic with rounds of 81 and 74.

“Especially after last week, it was really good to see those putts roll in,” Wie West said. “Put myself in some interesting spots today, but really proud of how I grinded it out out there.”

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