Annika Wie Breeze into Round 2

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GLADSTONE, N.J. -- Annika Sorenstam, fresh off her Monday playoff victory at the U.S. Women's Open, won two holes late in her first- round match on Thursday to defeat Virada Nirapathpongporn, 3 and 2, at the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship.
 
'Today is a new day, new tournament, but I had a lot of people remind me of last week and congratulated me throughout the round which is very nice,' said Sorenstam, the No. 1 seed. 'That's nice, but here I am and what matters now and trying to stay focused in the moment.'
 
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie cruised to her first match-play victory as a professional.
Nirapathpongporn narrowed the margin to 1-down with a win at the 14th, but Sorenstam responded. She knocked an 8-iron 12 feet from the hole on the fringe at the 15th and rolled in the birdie try to move 2-up.
 
At the next hole, Nirapathpongporn took an unplayable lie and that spelled the end. She conceded Sorenstam a par and the match.
 
Sorenstam will next face No. 32 Heather Young, who advanced thanks to a 1-up victory over No. 33 Sung Ah Yim in 19 holes.
 
Michelle Wie, the second seed, had a much easier time on Thursday. She dispatched Candy Hannemann, 5 and 3, at the Highlands Course at Hamilton Farm Golf Club.
 
This is Wie's first experience in a professional match-play tournament, although match play is nothing new to her. She played in several USGA events and won the 2003 Women's Amateur Public Links.
 
'I thought it would be a little different coming into this event, but match play is the same,' said Wie. 'I haven't played match play in a long time. So I just got off to a rocky start but I did good.'
 
Wie has an interesting second-round match as she faces 34th-ranked Christina Kim, a 2-and-1 victor over Joo Mi Kim.
 
'I've played with her a lot,' said Wie, referring to her opponent on Friday. 'She's really fun to talk to, she calls me sometimes. She's a nice girl and it's going to be fun tomorrow.'
 
The other top seeds advanced easily on Thursday.
 
Lorena Ochoa, ranked third and the tour's leading money winner, beat No. 62 Il Mi Chung, 3 and 1. Karrie Webb, seeded fourth overall and the reigning Kraft Nabisco Champion, trounced 61st-ranked Nancy Scranton, 4 and 2.
 
Thursday's opening round did not feature many significant upsets, but three players in the top-10 did not make it out of the first round.
 
The highest-ranked player to lose on Thursday was No. 7 Yuri Fudoh, the Japanese LPGA Tour star who fell, 4 and 3, to Brandie Burton in Thursday's first match.
 
Ninth-ranked Jeong Jang, the current Women's British Open title holder, fell 2-down to No. 56 Marcy Hart. The 10 seed, Ai Miyazato, also lost 2-down to Kyeong Bae.
 
Pat Hurst, the 13th seed who lost to Sorenstam on Monday at Newport Country Club, can't seem to stand to be away from the golf course. She needed 21 holes to finally eliminate Reilley Rankin, 1-up, and will now meet Helen Alfredsson, the European Solheim Cup captain, in round two. Alfredsson, ranked 45th, advanced with a 3-and-2 win over No. 20 Julieta Granada.
 
That match is in Webb's part of the bracket and the No. 4 seed will play No. 29 Hee Jung Park on Friday. Park defeated 36th-ranked Rachel Hetherington, 1-up.
 
Paula Creamer, No. 6, topped Miriam Nagl, 2 and 1, and will take on defending champion Marisa Baena, the 37th seed. Last year's winner needed three extra holes to take down Wendy Ward, 1-up.
 
'You just never know what's going to happen, and the proof of it is today,' said Baena. 'The biggest difference between today and last year was every time I had a pressure shot and I needed to perform, I didn't. Today it was very sloppy. You know what, that's how match play works. You just have to play your opponent.'
 
Morgan Pressel, ranked 12th, bested Sarah Lee, 1-up in 20 holes. Pressel will face 21st-seed Meena Lee on Friday after Meena Lee eliminated Sherri Steinhauer, 2 and 1.
 
Ochoa earned a second-round match with Karine Icher, who, as the 35th seed, knocked out Stacy Prammanasudh, 4 and 3 on Thursday.
 
Mi Hyun Kim, No 14, beat Nicole Castrale, 4 and 2 to set up a second-round match with Laura Davies, the European Solheim Cup stalwart who upset 19th-ranked Jee Young Lee 2 and 1.
 
Cristie Kerr, the sixth seed, went all 18 before stopping Young Jo, 1-up. That set up a second-round battle with Sophie Gustafson, who dispatched No. 38 Gwladys Nocera, 3 and 2.
 
Laura Diaz had the easiest route to round two. Shi Hyun Ahn, the No. 22 seed, withdrew on Wednesday giving Diaz a bye into the second round. Diaz will take on Lindsey Wright, a 5 and 4 winner over No. 11 Hee-Won Han.
 
Other winners on Thursday, playing in Sorenstam's portion of the bracket, included: No. 8 Juli Inkster (2 and 1 over Tina Barrett), No. 25 Catriona Matthew (1-up in 21 holes over Beth Daniel), 16th-ranked Seon Hwa Lee (3 and 2 over Aree Song), No. 17 Brittany Lang (3 and 2 over Patricia Meunier-Lebouc), No. 24 Liselotte Neumann (3 and 1 over Karen Stupples), and Hart.
 
The remainder of Wie's bracket features: No. 15 LPGA Champion Se Ri Pak (5 and 4 over Angela Stanford), No. 47 Lorie Kane (3 and 2 over Natalie Gulbis), Burton, No. 39 Brittany Lincicome (1-up in 20 holes over Michele Redman), Bae and 42nd-rated Suzann Pettersen (2 and 1 over Young Kim).
 
Related Links:
  • Scoring - HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship
  • Full Coverage - HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship
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