RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Michelle Wie West was back on a major championship leaderboard Thursday at the ANA Inspiration. So was Shanshan Feng in her first tournament in 16 months.
Playing for the second straight week after a 21-month break, Wie West shot a 2-under 70, leaving her four strokes behind leader Patty Tavatanakit after the morning wave.
“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.”
Feng birdied three of her last five holes for a bogey-free 67 in the morning The Chinese star hadn't played a competitive round since November 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic and a recent visa delay.
“I was kind of nervous last night,” the 10-time LPGA Tour winner said. “But I said to myself, `Hey, it’s OK. Think about you’re just an old rookie. Everything is new for you here and just have no expectation. Try your hardest, 100% on every shot and enjoy the process.′ That was what I did, actually.”
She got a break on the par-3 17th — her eighth hole of the day — when she hit a chip too hard and it slammed against the flagstick and in for birdie.
“I did have some luck on the course today,” Feng said.
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.