PINEHURST, N.C. - In the midst of throwing away a four-shot lead, Michelle Wie never lost sight of the big picture.
The U.S. Women's Open rarely goes according to plan, and Saturday was no exception. Wie knows that from experience long ago, and she settled down with four important pars at Pinehurst No. 2 to wind up with a 54-hole share of the lead at the event for the third time.
Wie was a teenager attending Punahou School the other two times. Now at 24, she is one round away from capturing her first major title.
Michelle Wie waits to putt on the 18th hole during Saturday’s third round of the U.S. Women’s Open.
"I'm just grateful for another opportunity," Wie said after salvaging a 2-over-par 72 to end the day tied atop the leaderboard with Amy Yang at 2-under 208, four strokes ahead of the rest of the field. "Tomorrow I'm going to play as hard as I can and hope for the best."
Yang, who earned a spot in the final group for the second time in three years, didn't make a par until the eighth hole. A bogey on the final hole gave her a 68 and cost her the outright lead.
Juli Inkster, the 53-year-old Hall of Famer who has said her 35th appearance in the U.S. Women's Open will be her last, had a tournament-best 66 as was at 2 over with Stephanie Meadow (69), Na Yeon Choi (71) and Minjee Lee (72).
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Wie reached 6 under for the tournament with back-to-back birdies at the turn, then made her first double bogey of the week with a tee shot she hooked into the pine trees on the 11th. Her next drive sailed well to the right and settled on a sandy path. Instead of trying to punch under the trees and over a bunker to the green, she pitched out to the fairway and made bogey.
"U.S. Opens are tough," Wie said. "I feel like maybe on a different golf course, I would have taken that chance. You just don't want to be too greedy out here. Even though you make bogey, sometimes you just don't want to make a double out here. I felt like I made the right decision there."
Wie also bogeyed the 14th.
"Michelle Wie has put a few of us back into the tournament," said Karrie Webb (70), one of five players at 213.