Francellas Match Play Run Ends


NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Maria Hjorth ended Meaghan Francella's run in the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship, beating the local favorite 4 and 3 in the quarterfinals Saturday at Wykagyl Country Club.
The 40th-seeded Hjorth, a 19-hole winner over Angela Stanford in the third round Saturday morning, set up a semifinal match against Japanese star Ai Miyazato on Sunday. The 12th-seeded Miyazato birdied the par-5 18th to beat No. 61 Amy Hung 1-up.
In the other semifinal, No. 10 Mi Hyun Kim will face No. 22 Seon Hwa Lee in an all-South Korean matchup. Kim, the highest remaining seed, beat No. 15 Jee Young Lee 1-up. Seon Hwa Lee topped No. 35 Lindsey Wright 3 and 2.
'This week has been really, really good off the tee,' Hjorth said. 'I guess I'm considered as a long hitter, so that sometimes can be a bit of a help. I think also being able to have spin on the ball on these greens, because they're starting to firm up a lot and be really quick, is a big advantage, too.'
With wind gusts again making club selection difficult on the hilly course, the 33rd-seeded Francella, from nearby Port Chester, fell to Hjorth after beating No. 1 Lorena Ochoa 1-up Friday and topping Pat Hurst 2 and 1 Saturday morning.
'I tried my best,' said Francella, the only American in the final eight. 'Unfortunately, I didn't come out on top. ... The week has just been incredible. I've seen people I haven't seen in years.'
After Francella won the par-4 first with a par, Hjorth -- a two-time European Solheim Cup player who won both of her LPGA Tour titles in 1999 -- took the par-4 second and par-3 fourth with pars and moved 2-up with a birdie on the par-4 fifth.
Francella won the par-5 sixth with a birdie, but Hjorth countered with pars on the par-3 seventh and par-5 ninth and a birdie on the par-3 10th to take a 4-up lead. Francella took the par-4 12th with a par, Hjorth won the par-3 13th with another par and halved the par-4 15th with a conceded bogey to end the match.
'She played well,' Hjorth said. 'She just struggled with her putting.'
Hjorth opened the tournament with a 23-hole victory over Catriona Matthew, then knocked off eighth-seeded Paula Creamer 1-up Friday. The Swede beat Stanford with an eagle on the first extra hole -- the par-5 16th -- in the third round.
'Maria played so well,' Francella said. 'She didn't make any mistakes.'
Miyazato, winless in 42 career LPGA Tour starts, beat Hung after stopping No. 37 Christina Kim 2 and 1 in the morning.
'It was fun, but I'm really tired now,' Miyazato said.
She's familiar with Hjorth's game.
'She hits the ball very long and has a good short game,' Miyazato said.
Mi Hyun Kim, the SemGroup Championship winner in May in Oklahoma, halved the 18th with a par to finish off Jee Young Lee. In the morning, the eight-time tour winner beat No. 39 Rachel Hetherington 3 and 2.
Seon Hwa Lee edged No. 27 Laura Davies 2 and 1 in the third round.
'I'm just going to be aggressive tomorrow and have fun,' Seon Hwa Lee said.
The winner will receive $500,000 from the $2 million purse. The third-round losers got $25,000. The losing quarterfinalists will get $50,000. ... Kim and Francella were the only 2007 tour winners to reach weekend play. ... Tiger Woods topped an HSBC-commissioned U.S. Internet survey as the top sports role model for children.
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