by Jeff Skinner
It was an exciting day at The Sybase Match Play Championship with upsets and extra holes galore. Michelle Wie advanced in a tight match with Stacy Prammanasudh but their match was dull compared to many of the other thrilling pairings.
It’s hard to call a win by a LPGA Hall of Famer an upset but when a 35 seed tops a 3 seed that’s an upset. Juli Inkster beat one of best in the world, Suzann Pettersen, when she sunk a par putt on their 21st hole. It was a battle all day and Inkster came back from an early 2 down hole to jar a birdie on eighteen to put the match all square. Inkster thrives on match play and moves on to play Amy Yang.
Tour rookies had a banner day as all three in the field moved on. Beatriz Recari may get attention for the way she looks but it was her game that shown through yesterday as she beat long hitter Brittany Lincicome. Azahara Munoz the former number one amateur in the world took down the resurgent Se Ri Pak.
The comeback of the day has to be feisty Morgan Pressel’s victory over Jimin Kang. Pressel was two down on the 17th tee and birdied her final two holes to send it to extra holes where she pulled it out on the second playoff hole.
While Inkster’s upset is the shock of the day, the scoring match of the day had to be Stacy Lewis versus Amanda Blumenherst. These two former Curtis Cup teammates played spectacular golf with each player topping the others great shot again and again. They were halving holes with birdies all day and draining long putts to keep themselves in the match. When Lewis left her approach on 18 in a bunker Blumenherst hit “the best five iron of my life” onto the green for a try at eagle which she converted. It was an extraordinary display of golf from both young players.
Two of the most visible players on the LPGA Tour were sent home early as Natalie Gulbis and Christina Kim both lost decisively. These two girls bring plenty of focus and fans to the tour but Gulbis is still trying to find her game after returning from a back injury. Kim’s last win was in 2005 and she had zero top ten finishes in 2009. They both have very busy careers off the course but their on course performances have deteriorated greatly. It may be time to concentrate on the skill that brought then their fame and fortune and leave the off course business alone for awhile.