MEXICO CITY – Michelle Wie was a bit gobsmacked when it was over. Relieved. Tired too. She had survived a 20-hole marathon quarterfinal against Angel Yin, who eagled two pars 5s on the front nine, reaching the par-5 sixth hole with an iron. Wie stood 4 down through seven holes at the LPGA Tour’s Lorena Ochoa Match Play to an 18-year-old rookie who absolutely bombs the ball.
“I think that was the definition of survival out there,” said Wie, who will face Ariya Jutanugarn in the next round Sunday. “She played so good.”
Wie cruised through her first three matches, never making it past the 16th hole. That proved key as she entered a hefty test against Yin. Wie also heaped plenty of credit to her caddie Matt Galloway, who has been with her since she contended in Sinagpore.
“I’m really proud of my caddie for motivating me, and just kind of keeping me in my head,” said Wie, the last American standing here in Mexico City. “We fought so hard out there.”
U.S. Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster was out watching the Wie/Yin playoff. She is, of course, well-versed in all things Wie. But Yin, ranked 86th in the world, is a new face for the Hall of Famer.
Yin first qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2012 at Blackwolf Run. At the ANA Inspiration in 2014, Yin opened with a 68 in the first round. She was massively star-stuck that week but made the cut.
“If (Michelle Wie) sat next to me and said hi to me, I’d probably run,” Yin said then.
Now here she was in Mexico going toe-to-toe with the most well-known player on tour.
On the 19th hole, Yin bombed it more than 30 yards past Wie off the tee, but they halved the hole with pars. On the par-5 second hole, their 20th, Yin went long on her second shot, and then ping-ponged back over the green from the bunker on her third. It was a sloppy par. Wie won the hole with birdie to advance to the semis.
“I definitely deserve a glass of wine after this,” said Wie, laughing.
Ariya Jutanugarn, who is using driver for the first time this year, went 19 holes with Cristie Kerr before securing her spot in the semifinals. She’ll face Wie at 7:40 a.m. local time.
M.J. Hur continued her impressive run, adding Shanshan Feng to her list of big-name triumphs. Hur took down Pettersen in the second round and Ko on Saturday morning. She’ll meet Sei Young Kim at 7:30 a.m.