WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- A black snake slithering in her path drew a screech of surprise from Michelle Wie yesterday, but it took a delay because of thunder and lightning to get her off her game after a flawless start.
The 14-year-old was 3 under par before the 50-minute stoppage and 2 over after it, undermined again by one miserable hole as stroke-play qualifying concluded in the US Women's Amateur Public Links Championship.
Wie, the defending champion, had a three-putt triple bogey with a penalty stroke, following a four-putt double bogey in the first round. Her 1-under 71 and two-day total of 141 were good enough to tie her for sixth place with three others.
Disappointed, she pledged to do better in match play, which starts today.
"Match play tomorrow is a whole different kind of story," she said, "and I feel like I'm really ready for that."
The top 64 players advanced to the first round of match play, which continues until a 36-hole championship match Sunday.
Brittany Lang, a teammate of Wie's on the US team that won the Curtis Cup this month, bolted to the lead at 9-under 135 with a 65 that featured eight birdies on the 6,158-yard Green Course at Golden Horseshoe.
Lang missed only two greens and rolled in birdie putts of 30 and 25 feet as well as making six others from within 8 feet.
"I hit a lot of shots at the flag," the McKinney, Texas, native said.
Taking some time off to rest after the Curtis Cup, which pitted the US team against Britain and Ireland and ended June 13, was crucial for Lang.
"I was wearing myself out with golf and working out," she said.
Lang wasn't the only one who got hot yesterday. Jenna Pearson of Wheaton, Ill., was two back after a 66, and Courtney Mahon of Topeka, Kan., was third at 138 after a 68. The top five also included 14-year-old Stephanie Kono (70), who attends the same school as Wie in Honolulu, at 139, and Ya-Ni Tseng (70) of Chinese Taipei at 140.
Pearson's round was set up by an unspectacular first round.
"Yesterday I had 17 pars and one birdie, and I really didn't make any mistakes, so I just felt really good coming into today," she said. "It'll help me tomorrow to know there are birdies out there."
Kono, six weeks younger than Wie and a rising ninth grader, isn't a long hitter like her schoolmate and some of the others playing here. Still, she said match play can change a lot of things and give everyone an equal chance.
"If they have a good putting day," she said, "that's all it takes."