ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Michelle Wie had a lot of fun today.
What’s not fun about shooting 64, setting a new course record, and taking the lead at a major championship?
That’s a pretty good day at the office.
Wie’s eight-under par, 64 was good enough to take the outright lead on day one at the Ricoh Women’s British Open and set the new women’s course record at Kingsbarns Golf Links. She leads by one ahead of In-Kyung Kim at seven-under par, and Lindy Duncan at six-under par. Marissa Steen, Lexi Thompson, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Anne Van Dam, Chella Choi and Mel Reid sit in a share of fourth at five-under par
“I had a lot of fun out there today. The views were just so spectacular here, you kind of get lost in the view sometimes,” Wie said about the morning’s idyllic conditions. “I’m really proud of myself how I took advantage of conditions this morning.”
Thursday’s low round was the latest in a series of solid days for Wie, who is on track for one of her best seasons on Tour. This year, Wie has six top-10s, which is more than the last two years combined, and the most since 2014. That year, she won twice and amassed 11 more top-10s.
“This year has been fun. I’ve been building a lot of confidence and just taking it day by day and just working towards something, been working towards playing well, and just want to have fun out there, not really thinking of the future.”
She was lighthearted and in good spirits as she met with the media after her round. Wie laughed as she detailed the nine and 11 woods she put in her bag, joked about being more experienced but not necessarily more mature and compared the views this week in Scotland to those back home in Hawaii.
Wie wanted to keep it fun and who wouldn’t?
After two years of battling illness and injuries, ranging from her neck to her ankle, she’s finally feeling relatively healthy. But that was the same sentiment she shared three weeks ago at the U.S. Women’s Open where she looked on-track for a solid week, only to withdraw on Friday with neck pain. Skeptical she’d jinx herself this week she didn’t even want to answer questions about her current physical condition.
“I am not going to answer that question because every time I feel like I say I’m good, something happens. Fingers crossed. Knock on wood.”
Dealing day in and day out with pain is draining and it affected Wie’s mental approach as much as her physical ability as the grind of trying to play through it made her take it all “a little bit too seriously.”
She wanted to get back to having fun.
“I live a pretty lucky life and sometimes I think just having a different perspective on it and just thinking less about the results and thinking more about the process and just having fun out there, because it doesn’t matter what the results are. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing, then that’s really all that matters.”
Wie had a more enjoyable day than most of the field. With a 7:36 a.m. tee time, she completed her round in sunny, calm conditions and was done four hours before the first delay of the afternoon. In-Kyung Kim also finished her round ahead of the storms and carded a seven-under par, 65 to sit one back of the lead.
“After six holes, five birdies, I’m like this is pretty awesome. But I try to not get ahead of myself, and focus on one shot at a time,” Kim told LPGA.com. “The view is amazing, so I was just watching the view and try to focus on my game. But I was very lucky today with the weather.”
The work Kim has been putting into her game is finally paying dividends, as she picked up her second win of the season two weeks ago at the Marathon Classic, and backed that up with a tie for ninth at last week’s Ladies Scottish Open. She echoed the same sentiments as Wie in finding success with a change in perspective.
“I think everything has a timing,” Kim said. “I’ve always been working on my game very hard, sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t, but I think the perseverance and also being appreciative of everything I get to do.”
Inclement weather forced the suspension of play twice on Thursday afternoon for an hour and 17 minutes.
Click here for current scores from the opening round of the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open.