Ariya to face Wie in LPGA Match Play semi-finals
Mexico City (AFP) – Thailand’s third-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn edged Christie Kerr in 19 holes Saturday to reach the LPGA Lorena Ochoa Match Play semi-finals against US star Michelle Wie, who rallied for a 20-hole win.
Sunday’s morning semi-finals at Mexico City in the first LPGA match-play tournament since 2012 will send Ariya against Wie and 12th-ranked Kim Sei-Young of South Korea against 25th-ranked compatriot Hur Mi-Jung with the winners meeting in Sunday 18-hole final.
Ariya, the only quarter-bracket top seed to reach the last four, ousted 14th-ranked Kerr by making par on the first extra hole when her US foe made bogey.
Wie, ranked 65th, outlasted 86th-ranked US teen rookie Angel Yin, taking her only lead of their match with a par 5 on the second extra hole after Yin blasted her third shot out of a bunker and back into the fairway.
Kim never lost a hole in ousting France’s 34th-ranked Karine Icher 5 and 4 while Hur edged China’s seventh-ranked Feng Shanshan 1-up after having dispatched world number one Lydia Ko 1-up in Saturday morning’s third round.
Ariya and Kerr halved only one of the first 10 holes but the match turned in the Thai star’s favor when she went 3-up by winning three consecutive holes thanks to a birdie at eight, a par at the ninth and a birdie at 10.
Kerr birdied the 12th and Ariya the 13th to win those holes. Kerr won with pars at the par-3 14th and par-4 15th then birdied the par-5 17th to square the match.
Ariya and Kerr each made bogey at 18 to force extra holes, but Ariya’s par on the 19th advanced her to the last four.
Yin, 19, was coming off a share of fifth last week in Texas, her top LPGA result, and won five holes out of six from the second through the seventh, with eagles at the par-5 second and sixth plus three birdies in the run, to seize command of Wie.
Yin birdied the par-5 11th to go 4-up but Wie charged back, winning four of the next five holes, her birdie to take the par-3 16th squaring the match.
Yin answered with a birdie at the par-5 17th to reclaim the lead and but she lost the 18th with a bogey to force extra holes and fell at the 20th, the only lead Wie managed being the only one that mattered.
Feng and Hur halved the first dozen holes, each of them with birdies at the par-5 second, par-3 third and par-4 eighth and 12th holes plus bogeys at the par-4 ninth.
Feng won the 13th with a par 4 to break the deadlock but she dropped the 15th with a bogey to square the match once again and Hur birdied the par-5 17th then matched Feng’s par at 18 to complete the victory.
Kim blitzed Icher without dropping a hole. Kim birdied to win the par-5 second and sixth holes, took the par-4 fourth and 10th on bogeys by Icher and closed out the match with a par 3 at the 14th.
Hur, seeking her third career LPGA title and first since 2014, delivered the morning stunner by dumping Ko, the South Korean-born New Zealander who had ensured she would keep Ariya from overtaking her atop the rankings for at least another week by reaching the last 16.