Top Three LPGA Seeds Advance in Japan

RSS

Sweden's Annika Sorenstam defeated Mhairi McKay of Scotland 3-and-1 in Saturday's quarterfinals of the World Ladies Match Play Championship at Sohsei Country Club in Japan. Her victory set the stage for a possible final-round showdown with Se Ri Pak, who also advanced after a 3-and-2 triumph over Australian Rachel Teske.
 
Sorenstam, the top-seeded LPGA player from a field that started with 16 LPGA members and 16 players from the Japan LPGA Tour, must first get by No. 3 seed Lorie Kane of Canada in Sunday's semifinal round. Kane posted an impressive 4-and-3 quarterfinal win over Emilee Klein.
 
Korea's Pak is the second seed and the only player on the LPGA Tour with a chance to catch Sorenstam for the season money title and Player of the Year honors. She can earn a spot in the championship match, which will also be held Sunday, by beating Yu-Chen Huang in the semis.
 
Huang scored a 1-up victory over fellow Japan LPGA Tour player Aki Takamura to become the lone golfer from that circuit to move on to the semifinals. Huang, the 13th seed from the JLPGA, pulled off upsets in all three rounds.
 
Players from each tour were seeded based on their position on their respective tour's money list.
 
Sorenstam, chasing her seventh victory of the season, was down early when McKay won the second hole Saturday. But the Swede rallied before reaching the turn with wins at the fourth, sixth and eighth holes to take a 2-up lead. McKay took the ninth hole to narrow the gap and remained 1-down after halving holes 10 through 14 with her opponent.
 
Sorenstam then stamped her ticket to play on Sunday by winning the 15th and the 17th.
 
Pak, a five-time champion in 2001 with three wins in her last seven starts, never trailed in her match versus Teske. She went 4-up after 11 holes then withstood a late charge by the Aussie, who won the 13th and 15th. But the math caught up with Teske when Pak won the 16th to go 3-up with two holes remaining.
 
Both Kane and Huang rode quick starts to victory. Kane took three of the first four holes en route to an easy win, while Huang won the first two holes to grab her biggest lead in what proved to be a tight match.
 
This event, the first match-play tournament on the LPGA schedule since 1992, replaced the World Ladies Challenge, an unofficial team event that pitted the LPGA against the JLPGA from 1979-2000. The LPGA dominated the series with a 19-3 record.
 
Full-field scores from the CISCO World Ladies Match Play Championship