Wie survives, Pettersen beat at Match Play
GLADSTONE, N.J. – Michelle Wie smacked herself on the rear end after three-putting for her lone bogey in the first round of the Sybase Match Play Championship.
“I was angry,” said Wie, a 2-up winner over Stacy Prammanasudh on Thursday at Hamilton Farm. “I do that so that I get angry and forget about it and move on.
“I just said, ‘It was a stupid error, a stupid mistake.’ I get mad at myself for a little bit, so I don’t take it to the next tee box and I’m completely over it.”
After falling behind with the bogey on the par-3 eighth, Wie birdied Nos. 10 and 11 to regain the lead. Prammanasudh birdied 15 to tie it, but Wie pulled ahead with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th and won with a conceded birdie on 18.
“It was a fight. She played extremely well,” Wie said. “It was one of those matches where you had to make birdie to win, so kind of with that mindset, I went out and grinded and just tried to make birdies.”
The eighth-seeded Wie will face Hee Young Park, a 19-hole winner over Ji Young Oh, in the second round Friday.
Top-seeded Jiyai Shin and No. 2 Ai Miyazato also advanced, while 49-year-old Juli Inkster rallied to beat third-seeded Suzann Pettersen in 21 holes.
“If Suzann and I played 10 days in a row, she would probably beat me seven,” said Inkster, a 31-time LPGA Tour winner in her Hall of Fame career.
In perfect, cloudless conditions after rain soaked the hilly course Tuesday, Shin beat Kyeong Bae 3 and 2, and Miyazato, the winner of three of the first six events of the season, topped Jeong Jang 4 and 3. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls in the fairways.
On the 515-yard 18th, Wie laid up and hit a wedge shot to 8 feet. Prammanasudh hit her second shot into a bunker about 80 yards from the green, sent her third over the green and conceded after failing to reach the putting surface with her fourth shot.
“It’s match play, you never know what is going to happen,” Prammanasudh said. “I played my best. ... I hit great shots all day and unfortunately hit one bad one.”
Playing in the last group of the day, Wie and Prammanasudh teed off a little over 30 minutes late because three of the first four matches went to extra holes.
They still got off to a fast start, with Wie holing out from 50 feet for the first of her seven birdies after Prammanasudh hit her second shot to 3 feet.
“She put it in 3 feet and that’s the only thing I had,” Wie said.
Inkster made a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th to force extra holes, then finished off Pettersen with a 4-foot par putt on the par-3 third.
“I was never up in the match all day, so it’s just match play, it’s weird,” Inkster said. “I don’t think we both played our best golf, but that’s the thing with match play. Even though you’re playing the third-best player in the world, if you make a few putts and hit a few good shots here and there, you have a shot.”
Se Ri Pak, a playoff winner last week in Mobile, Ala., dropped out with a 3-and-2 loss to Azahara Munoz, and 62nd-seeded Beatriz Recari upset Brittany Lincicome, the match-play winner in 2006 at Hamilton Farm.
Recari won 1-up despite giving up 60-70 yards off the tee to Lincicome.
“I had to be very strong mentally,” said Recari, the 23-year-old Spaniard making her fourth LPGA Tour start. “I just had to focus on my strengths.”
Fourth-seeded Yani Tseng, No. 5 Cristie Kerr and No. 7 Karrie Webb also advanced, while No. 6 Anna Nordqvist dropped a 2-up decision to Shi Hyun Ahn.
Tseng beat Wendy Ward 2 and 1, Kerr topped Meaghan Francella 4 and 3, and Webb eliminated Eunjung Yi 4 and 3.
DIVOTS: The third round and quarterfinals will be played Saturday and the semifinals and final are set for Sunday. ... The winner will receive $375,000 from the $1.5 million purse.