Wie Pressel advance at Sybase Match Play


LPGA Tour _new

GLADSTONE, N.J. – Michelle Wie easily advanced to the round of 16 in the Sybase Match Play Championship on Friday, beating Hee Young Park 5 and 4 on a warm, humid afternoon at hilly Hamilton Farm.

The eighth-seeded Wie will face 57th-seeded Karine Icher on Saturday morning, with the winner advancing to the afternoon quarterfinals.

“I’m just trying to hit fairways and greens and make some putts,” Wie said. “It’s definitely a grind out there.”

Icher, from France, beat Eun-Hee Ji 2 and 1.

With by far the largest gallery following Wie, the 20-year-old Stanford student took a 4-up lead on the front nine and ended the match with a par on No. 14.

Wie won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico in November for her first LPGA title and has two top-six finishes in six events this year.

Michelle Wie swings golf club“You never know with match play,” Wie said. “I’m just going to go out there and play my hardest. … I put pressure on myself to play the best I can.”

Japanese star Ai Miyazato, a three-time winner in the first six events of the season, dropped a 1-up decision to M.J. Hur.

After the second-seeded Miyazato missed a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 15 that would have given her a 3-up lead, Hur squared the match with birdies on 16 and 17.

On the par-5 18th, Miyazato’s wedge shot stopped 7 feet from the hole and Hur’s approach rolled up against Miyazato’s ball. Miyazato’s putt lipped out, and Hur – after seeing the line on Miyazato’s attempt – made her birdie try to end the match.

“M.J. played really good,” said Miyazato, 5 under in her bogey-free round.

Top-seeded Jiyai Shin and fourth-seeded Yani Tseng, the Kraft Nabisco Championship winner in April, also advanced. Shin beat Hee-Won Han 3 and 1, and Tseng topped Candie Kung 2 and 1. No. 5 Cristie Kerr lost 4 and 2 to Sun Young Yoo.

Morgan Pressel rallied to beat Sophie Gustafson in 19 holes, winning the last three holes with birdies. Pressel holed a 5-foot putt on 18 to extend the match and hit a wedge to 3 feet on No. 1 to set up her winning birdie.

“I was shaking on that putt on 18,” Pressel said. “If I missed that putt, that’s the end of my tournament.”

Amy Yang routed 49-year-old Juli Inkster 7 and 6.

“My putting was really good today,” Yang said. “I was quite nervous about playing with Juli Inkster. She’s a really, really good player, a Hall of Famer.”

Yang was 7 under for the 12 holes.

“She played great … and I didn’t do anything to put any pressure on her,” Inkster said. “If she keeps playing like that, she’s going to win.”

Amanda Blumenherst also made quick work of a Hall of Famer, beating seventh-seeded Karrie Webb 7 and 6.

Beatriz Recari followed her first-round victory over 2006 Hamilton Farm winner Brittany Lincicome with a 2-and-1 decision over fellow Spanish star Azahara Munoz.