Wie back in mix at Dubai event

Michelle Wie climbed back into contention at the Dubai Ladies Masters, shooting a 5-under 67 Thursday to move within two shots of clubhouse leader Sophie Gustafson.

The 22-year-old American, looking for her first win of the year, bounced back from an opening 73 in which her shaky putting led to three bogeys. On Thursday, Wie had a bogey-free round in the season-ending event and sank several key birdie putts, including a 30-footer on No. 12. She had five birdies overall, including four on the back nine for a total of 140.

”A little frustrated after the last two holes, but I kept steady out there today,” said Wie, who missed a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 18. ”I made a couple more putts, and I have two more days to try and shoot some more low scores. I’m still in contention, and going to go out there tomorrow, shoot another low round.”

Gustafson (67) is at 138 with about half the field of 108 golfers still on the course. Playing alongside Wie, the 38-year-old Swede is also looking for her first victory of the year. She was five shots back after the first day, but had five birdies in a bogey-free second round.

”I was striking the ball very well so it feels good,” Gustafson said. ”I was actually hitting the ball awful on Tuesday during the Pro Am, but the Swedish coaches that are here this week from the Swedish Golf Federation helped me find my ball striking.”

Four-time major winner Laura Davies (81) continued to struggle in Dubai. The 48-year-old Englishwoman is at 156 will miss the cut for the second week in a row.

She had an early exit at the Indian Open – only the fourth time she had missed a cut on tour – after her caddie failed to show up for the first round because of visa problems. She carried her own bag and shot 3 over the first day.

This week, Davies said her problems came down to poor play. Needing a sub-par round Thursday for any chance to play into the weekend, Davies had three bogeys and two double-bogeys on the front nine to end her chances.

”I started nicely. Three-putted the first and had an eagle chance on 3 and just missed it,” Davies said. ”On the fourth hole, I hit what I thought was a good chip and it went in the water. Triple-bogey, six over. The cut is obviously going to be 1 or 2 (over) and that is a long ways back from there.’