by Jeff Skinner
The magical comeback ride is over for Morgan Pressel as she fell to Amy Yang 4 & 3 in the third round of play at The Sybase Match Play Championship. After two straight days of miraculous comebacks from two down with two to play, Pressel couldn’t survive the steady play of Yang.
Number four seed, long hitter Yani Tseng dispatched Inbee Park rather easily with a 5 & 3 victory.
In a big upset, 67th seeded Haeji Kang bested her fellow South Korean, 27th seed Jee Young Lee 1 up. Kang was one down going into the seventeenth hole and managed to win the last two holes for her victory. In another matchup of South Koreans, Sun Young Yoo (28) upset Song-Hee Kim (12) one up to advance.
Match play can be unpredictable but that wasn’t the case for top seed Jiyai Shin this morning. She beat rookie Beatriz Recari, the 62nd seed, 4 & 3. Recari had played excellent golf to advance this far but Shin’s experience was too much for the rookie to handle.
The pride of Scotland and British Open Champion, Catriona Matthew (15) needed one extra hole to beat M.J. Hur (31). Matthew faltered on eighteen losing the hole to let Hur get the match to all square but used a birdie on the first playoff hole to move on to the quarterfinals.
LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan can breathe easy, at least for another round, as Michelle Wie continued her march to the finals with a 3 & 2 win over 57th seed Karine Icher. Wie has played consistent golf this week, hitting fairways and greens and using her length off the tee to her advantage. For the LPGA to make a splash they need Wie to be playing well and so far this week she has been excellent.
In the match of the day, rookie Amanda Blumenherst (55) and fellow American Angela Stanford (10) battled into extra holes to determine the winner. Stanford took an early 1 up lead only to lose it at the ninth and then watched Blumenherst go two up after the fourteenth. The rookie then lost her lead by losing two of the last four holes as the veteran Stanford scratched back to all square and sent it into overtime. Her rookie luck ran out on the second playoff hole as she made only her second six of the tournament. Stanford’s win puts her in the quarterfinals against Matthew.
Wie and Stanford are the only two Americans remaining and Wie has a huge task ahead of her as she faces the number one seed and number one player in the world, Jiyai Shin.