Wie, nine back, parts with caddy
EVIAN, France -- Annika Sorenstam shot a 6-under 66 Thursday to climb into contention at the Evian Masters, two strokes behind second-round leaders Paula Creamer and Christina Kim.
Creamer and Kim each shot 4-under 68s and share the lead at 8-under 136. Sorenstam stood alone in second at 6 under, with Laura Davies and Carin Koch another stroke back.
Michelle Wie, a 15-year-old amateur from Hawaii, rebounded from her poor first round with a 70, but remained nine shots back at 1 over. The teenage phenom opened with a 3-over 75.
Davies shot 70 and Koch carded 73. Lorena Ochoa had a 69 and Karrie Webb shot 70, putting them four strokes behind.
Sorenstam had seven birdies -- her longest putt was 11 feet -- and dropped only one shot when she was caught between clubs and hit a pitching wedge into a greenside bunker at the 10th.
"Yesterday I walked off feeling I'd left some shots out there," Sorenstam said. "Today I felt I converted most of them."
Wie hit 10 of 14 fairways and got her driver under control, a big improvement after hitting just two during the first round.
"I played great but all my putts, strangely, didn't drop," Wie said.
"I played so much better than yesterday. I could have finished at 9 under," she added.
Wie dropped only one shot and had three birdies, all from under 12 feet. At No. 9, her bunker shot for eagle rattled the flagstick but didn't drop.
She had her father B.J. on the bag Thursday, having parted from experienced Irish caddie Brian Smallwood.
"Brian was with me Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but the chemistry didn't really work," Wie said.
She said her father would caddie for her during next week's British Open at Royal Birkdale.
Wie has gone through several caddies during her short career.
"My caddie's not available," Sorenstam joked.
"It's important to have a regular caddie," the Swede added. "I've been lucky to have only two in 11 years. A caddie has to learn to adjust to you."
"If he only gets 24 hours to do it, that's pretty hard."
The 18-year-old Creamer made seven birdies and had three bogeys, while Kim had five birdies. Both are hoping to qualify for the U.S. Solheim Cup squad, which will be picked on Aug. 28. Ten players qualify on points, and two are captain's picks.
Kim is fifth in the points standings and Creamer is 13th.
"I've wanted to be in the Solheim from before I hit my first ball as a pro," Creamer said.
Marisa Baena, who shared the first-round lead with Koch and Lynnette Brooky, had a 75 to fall five off the lead. Brooky slumped to an 80.
Japanese star Ai Miyazato seldom got close to the pin, holing her only birdie on the 18th for a 76 to trail by 12.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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