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PINEHURST, N.C. – Michelle Wie is becoming a regular contender in major championships, only now as an adult.

She captivated women’s golf as a teenager, contending in three straight LPGA Tour majors when she was 16. That was when she still was trying to compete against the men, when she didn’t always look as if she was having fun and before injuries and criticism contributed to her growing pains.

On another tough day at Pinehurst No. 2, the 24-year-old from Hawaii held it together Friday with two key par putts and finished with back-to-back birdies for a 2-under-par 68, giving her a three-shot lead going into the weekend at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Wie was at 4-under 136.

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Second-place Lexi Thompson, who soundly beat Wie in the final round to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship for her first major title, powered her way out of the sand and weeds, running off three straight birdies to match Wie’s 68, the low score Friday.

Is it too early to start thinking rematch of the Kraft Nabisco?

“Definitely too early,” Thompson said with a laugh.

Lucy Li, the precocious 11-year-old and youngest qualifier in the history of the U.S. Women’s Open, started with a double bogey for the second straight day and shot another 78 to miss the cut by seven shots.

Top-ranked Stacy Lewis (73), who opened with a bogey-free 67 Thursday, picked up a bogey on her first hole in a wild round of six bogeys and three birdies. She is at even par.

Putnam, Moore are in the mix

CROMWELL, Conn. – Scott Langley took the second-round lead in the Travelers Championship,shooting a 5-under 65 to reach 11-under 129 in the PGA Tour event at TPC River Highlands.

Michael Putnam (63), who is from University Place, tied for the best round of the day and shared second at 10 under with Harris English (64) and K.J. Choi (65).

“It was a perfect day for scoring. I left myself in some good spots and made a couple putts,” Putnam said. “I actually three-putted 13 for par, so it could have been even better.”

Ryan Moore (68) of Puyallup was tied for fifth place at 9 under.

Players with 36-hole scores of 140 and higher missed the cut, a group that included Kevin Chappell (66-75—141), who owns a home in Kirkland; Kyle Stanley (71-71—142) of Gig Harbor; and former Washington Huskies Richard H. Lee (70-78—148) and Alex Prugh (70-79—149).

Other tournaments

Tom Lehman birdied four straight holes and finished with a bogey-free, 7-under 65 to take the first-round lead in the Encompass Championship on the 50-and-older Champions Tour in Glenview, Ill.

Kirk Triplett (67), a graduate of Pullman High School, was tied for fourth place.

• Finland’s Mikko Ilonen opened a two-stroke lead in the Irish Open in Cork, while Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy missed the cut by a stroke.

Ilonen had a 3-under 68 to reach 10 under at Fota Island. Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (66), England’s Robert Rock (66) and France’s Romain Wattel (65) were tied for second.

McIlroy followed his opening 74 with a round of 69.

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