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Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Match Play presented by Aeromexico and Delta

Day 4 - Kim struggles to victory in Lorena Ochoa Match Play

May 07, 2017

Match 5
Mi Jung Hur KOR
Wins 5&4
Sei Young Kim KOR
Ariya Jutanugarn THA
Wins 4&3
Michelle Wie USA
Match 6
Mi Jung Hur KOR
Wins 22 holes
Michelle Wie USA
Sei Young Kim KOR
Wins 1 Up
Ariya Jutanugarn THA

 

Despite going out of bounds off the tee at No. 17 and watching her birdie putt at No. 18 trickle tantalizingly past the hole, Sei Young Kim of the Republic of Korea captured a 1-up win over Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn at the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Match Play presented by Aeromexico and Delta.

“It was a really tough day today,” said Kim, who trailed for only four of the 95 holes she played at Club de Golf Mexico. “I never had such a hard win like today. I am happy that I was able to win and hold this trophy.”

Kim was on fire early, opening birdie-eagle-birdie to quickly build a 3-up lead over Jutanugarn, the third-ranked player in the world. Kim’s lead dropped to 2 up when she couldn’t convert par at No. 14. But on the 16th green, things truly started to fall apart for the 24-year-old Kim, when her short birdie putt to win the title lipped out.

Kim then sent her tee shot at the par-5 17th far right and out of bounds, forcing her to tee up a provisional. Jutanugarn saw the open door and went right through, knocking in a birdie from 12 feet to cut Kim’s lead to 1 up.

“I tried to stay calm but I really couldn’t,” said Kim. “My hands were shaking, my legs were shaking too. It was really hard to keep calm.”

Both players put their approaches to the par-4 18th within 10 feet. Kim’s putt just brushed the hole, knocking her to her knees in disbelief. She could only watch as Jutanugarn was also unable to convert her birdie, handing Kim her sixth LPGA title.

“I am really pleased, because it’s been one year that I have not played good,” said Kim, whose last win came in June 2016 at the Meijer LPGA Classic. “I got really disappointed, and even last week, I missed the cut. But this week I bounced back and had a really good result. So, I’m really happy with that.”

Prior to today, Kim’s best 2017 finish was a third-place showing at the Honda LPGA Thailand, and she missed the cut at last week’s Volunteers of America Texas Shootout presented by JTBC. She is projected to move from No. 12 to No. 8 in the Rolex Rankings. This was Jutanugarn’s third runner-up finish of the season, joining the HSBC Women’s Champions and the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She is projected to pass So Yeon Ryu and regain her position as No. 2 in the Rolex Rankings, behind World No. 1 Lydia Ko.

Hur tops Wie in consolation match

Mi Jung Hur of the Republic of Korea outlasted American Michelle Wie in a grueling 22-hole competition to win the consolation match and take third place at the Lorena Ochoa Match Play.

It was all Wie to begin, as the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open champion won six of the first 10 holes to take a 5-hole advantage. Then, suddenly, Hur won three straight holes to get herself firmly back in the match.

“Michelle played really good on the front nine and I was struggling, I was 5 down going into 11 holes,” Hur explained. “I was so frustrated with my game. I played 36 holes on Saturday and today as well, my mind was trying to keep it up. My caddie kept saying positive things and trying to keep my focused.”

Wins for Hur on holes 15 and 17 brought the match to all square, and Wie had a great look on 18 for the win but couldn’t sneak the ball into the hole, leading to extra holes. The duo played 18 first, with Hur missing a long birdie putt just short. On the 20th hole, Wie’s magnificent approach landed about 2 feet from the hole and Hur knew she needed something special from her greenside chip. She proceeded to calmly roll the chip in for the shot of the match.

“She hit it almost 2 foot and I had a 7-yard chip, and I tried to make it and take the pin out,” said Hur. “I thought there was no chance, but I just hit it and landed perfectly and the birdie was amazing.”

Matching pars on the 21st hole led the match to the 16th hole, where Wie just needed to roll in a 2-foot par putt to extend. The downhill roller sharply caught the edge leading to a massive lip-out, and the match was decided.

“After she chipped it in it was pretty close but it was still downhill and I had a putt from there too. It didn’t look easy so I didn’t give it to her,” said Hur. “We had already played 21 holes so I thought maybe she wasn’t very focused, and she missed it by nothing. But it’s a match play, so I’m sorry Michelle.”

The result was the second consecutive top-5 finish for Hur. Wie’s fourth-place finish ties her best result of the season.

How they reached the finals

Sei Young Kim (KOR), winner of the Se Ri Pak bracket

First round, defeated Maude-Aimee Leblanc (CAN), 3 and 1
Second round, defeated Danielle Kang (USA), 3 and 2
Third round, defeated Charley Hull (ENG), 3 and 1
Quarterfinals, defeated Karine Icher (FRA), 5 and 4
Semifinals, defeated Mi Jung Hur (KOR), 5 and 4

Ariya Jutanugarn (THA), winner of the Annika Sorenstam bracket

First round, defeated Amy Anderson (USA), 5 and 4
Second round, defeated Moriya Jutanugarn (THA), 2 up
Third round, defeated Pernilla Lindberg (SWE), 5 and 3
Quarterfinals, defeated Cristie Kerr (USA), 19 holes
Semifinals, defeated Michelle Wie (USA), 4 and 3

Day 3 at the Lorena Ochoa Match Play

May 06, 2017
Match 3
Lydia Ko NZL
Wins 1 Up
Mi Jung Hur KOR
Shanshan Feng CHN
Wins 1 Up
Brooke M. Henderson CAN
Ariya Jutanugarn THA
Wins 5&3
Pernilla Lindberg SWE
Cydney Clanton USA
Wins 3&2
Cristie Kerr USA
Michelle Wie USA
Wins 5&4
Marina Alex USA
Sandra Gal GER
Wins 3&2
Angel Yin USA
Angela Stanford USA
Wins 1 Up
Karin Icher FRA
Sei Young Kim KOR
Wins 3&1
Charley Hull ENG
Match 4
Mi Jung Hur KOR
Wins 1 Up
Shanshan Feng CHN
Ariya Jutanugarn THA
Wins 19 holes
Cristie Kerr USA
Michelle Wie USA
Wins 20 holes
Angel Yin USA
Karin Icher FRA
Wins 5&4
Sei Young Kim KOR

Jutanugarn needs 19 holes to eliminate Kerr

Ariya Jutanugarn overcame a late fightback by Cristie Kerr and a crisis of confidence with short putts to clinch a hard-fought 19-hole quarterfinal victory on Saturday afternoon. The long-hitting Thai sealed the win at the par-4 first hole, where she lipped out with a birdie attempt from 15 feet only to watch as Kerr, long regarded as one of the best putters on the LPGA Tour, missed her par putt from just 4 feet.

“The greens here are really hard to read, the speed, everything,” World No. 3 Jutanugarn said. “Cristie hit some really good putts today but they just didn’t go in.”

Jutanugarn had been 3 up on the experienced Kerr with just five holes to go after draining a 35-foot birdie putt at the par-4 13th, and the American’s shoulders seemed to sag after she missed her attempt there from only eight feet.

“After making that birdie putt I felt a lot more confident, and then I start to miss my short putts again,” said Jutanugarn. “I lost confidence again.”

The momentum began to shift Kerr’s way at the par-3 14th where she got up and down from a bunker to save par while Jutanugarn bogeyed after chipping from right of the green eight feet past the hole and missing the putt coming back. Worse was to follow for Jutanugarn at the par-4 15th, after she had struck a superb second shot from light rough to 12 feet before three-putting for her lead to be trimmed to 1 up.

After pars were traded at the short 16th, Kerr got back to all square with a birdie at the par-5 17th where Jutanugarn, from only five feet, watched her birdie attempt slide past the left edge of the cup.

But despite the difficult round, Jutanugarn was able to quickly pinpoint the problem, and also find a bright spot.

“Overall, my game is pretty good,” said Jutanugarn, a winner of five titles on the LPGA Tour, including her first major crown at last year’s RICOH Women’s British Open. “My tee shot was pretty good all day. I just have to work on my putting.”

Jutanugarn will face another long-hitter in Michelle Wie in Sunday morning’s semifinals. The duo of long bombers will take to the tee at 7:40 a.m.

Wie survies, advances

Michelle Wie went 4 down through seven holes to 2017 LPGA rookie Angel Yin in Saturday afternoon’s quarterfinals, but stormed back on the inward nine to take the match to extra holes. She then emerged victorious thanks to a birdie-4 at the par-5 second, the 20th hole of the match.

Wie’s surge included winning Nos. 12-16 to pull the match all square heading to 17. Yin won the 17th, but found trouble on the 18th behind a tree. Wie’s par on the final hole of regulation brought the match to all square.

The duo then traded pars on the 19th hole before heading to No. 2. Both players bombed drives and had the opportunity to reach the green in two, yet both missed the mark. Yin was faced with a difficult bunker shot that flew the green and opened the door for Wie, who calmly converted her up-and-down for birdie for the win.

“I think it was the definition of survival out there,” said Wie. “(Angel) played so good, she eagled 2 and 6, I think she was 5 under in 7 holes, she played great. I’m really proud of my caddie for motivating me and keeping me in my head. And we fought so hard out there.”

Earlier on Saturday, Wie dispatched her great friend Marina Alex by a score of 5 and 4.

Wie is looking for the fifth victory of her career and first since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. She squares off Sunday morning against World No. 3 Ariya Jutanugarn, the highest remaining seed in the tournament.

Hur hangs on

It took 13 holes for either Mi Jung Hur and Shanshan Feng to grab a lead in the first match of the quarterfinals. Both players matched each other hole-for-hole until Feng took the lead after Hur missed a par putt on the 13th.

Hur gained back the hole that she lost on 15 with a par to Feng’s bogey. The match was all square going into 17, and with Hur already given her short birdie putt by Feng, all the Chinese player needed was to make a 4-footer to keep the match tied. But Feng missed that short putt, and Hur moved on to the semifinals with a 1-up win after both players parred the 18th.

“It was very tough,” said Hur, who defeated No. 1 overall seed and World No. 1 Lydia Ko, also by a score of 1 up, in the morning’s Round of 16. “I thought, if I make a mistake I’m going to lose because she never had a missed shot until 14 or 15, it was a really tough game.”

Hur is a two-time LPGA Tour winner with her last win coming at the 2014 Yokohama LPGA Classic. She faces fellow Korean player Sei Young Kim at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday morning for a shot at the championship match.

Kim reaches semis with win over Icher

Sei Young Kim never trailed - and never lost a hole - en route to her 5-and-4 quarterfinal win over Karine Icher. The 24-year-old from South Korea highlighted her round with a masterful hole-out chip from behind the green at the par-4 12th, after her approach clipped a tree and landed in a bunker just short of the green.

“When I hit the second shot, there was mud on my ball. That’s the reason why the shot was thin,” said Kim, who reached the quarterfinals with a 3-and-1 victory over Charley Hull in Saturday morning’s third round. “So I hit the tree, unfortunately, and then it was a pretty tough bunker shot and I hit it over the green. (I thought) ‘Whatever, if I miss one’, so I tried to be aggressive with chipping.”

Kim is aiming for her sixth LPGA victory and first since the 2016 Meijer LPGA Classic. Her best finish so far this year is a third-place showing at the Honda LPGA Thailand. Her semifinal opponent at 7:30 a.m. Sunday? Dear friend Mi Jung Hur.

“Before today, we talked a little bit. If you win today, you might play with me tomorrow so ‘see you tomorrow’ she said. It came true” said Kim with a chuckle.

How they reached the semifinals

Mi Jung Hur (KOR), winner of the Lorena Ochoa Bracket
• First round, defeated Jacqui Concolino (USA), 4 and 3
• Second round, defeated Suzann Pettersen (NOR), 20 holes
• Third round, defeated Lydia Ko (NZL), 1 up
• Quarterfinals, defeated Shanshan Feng (CHN), 1 up

Sei Young Kim (KOR), winner of the Se Ri Pak bracket
• First round, defeated Maude-Aimee Leblanc (CAN), 3 and 1
• Second round, defeated Danielle Kang (USA), 3 and 2
• Third round, defeated Charley Hull (ENG), 3 and 1
• Quarterfinals, defeated Karine Icher (FRA), 5 and 4

Ariya Jutanugarn (THA), winner of the Annika Sorenstam bracket
• First round, defeated Amy Anderson (USA), 5 and 4
• Second round, defeated Moriya Jutanugarn (THA), 2 up
• Third round, defeated Pernilla Lindberg (SWE), 5 and 3
• Quarterfinals, defeated Cristie Kerr (USA), 19 holes

Michelle Wie (USA), winner of the Juli Inkster bracket
• First round, defeated Lizette Salas (USA), 6 and 5
• Second round, defeated Laura Gonzalez Escallon (BEL), 3 and 2
• Third round, defeated Marina Alex (USA), 5 and 4
• Quarterfinals, defeated Angel Yin (USA), 20 holes

Day 2 results

May 05, 2017

 

Match 2
Inbee Park KOR
Wins 3&2
Angela Stanford USA
Carlota Ciganda ESP
Wins 21 holes
Karin Icher FRA
Sei Young Kim KOR
Wins 3&2
Danielle Kang USA
Charley Hull ENG
Wins 2&1
Pornanong Phatlum THA
Laura Gonzalez Escallon BEL
Wins 3&2
Michelle Wie USA
Jessica Korda USA
Wins 5&4
Marina Alex USA
Sung Hyun Park KOR
Wins 2&1
Sandra Gal GER
Ayako Uehara JAP
Wins 4&3
Angel Yin USA
Ariya Jutanugarn THA
Wins 2 Up
Moriya Jutanugarn THA
Pernilla Lindberg SWE
Wins 4&3
Brittany Lang USA
Cydney Clanton USA
Wins 19 holes
Caroline Masson GER
Cristie Kerr USA
Wins 4&3
Jenny Shin KOR
Lydia Ko NZL
Wins 1 Up
Jennifer Song USA
Suzann Pettersen NOR
Wins 20 holes
Mi Jung Hur KOR
Shanshan Feng CHN
Wins 24 holes
Sarah Jane Smith AUS
Brooke M. Henderson CAN
Wins 2&1
Ryann O'Toole USA

 

Wie continues match-play roll; next up is dear friend

Fan favorite Michelle Wie continued her excellent play on Friday, never trailing en route to a 3-and-2 win over 2017 LPGA rookie Laura Gonzalez Escallon in the Juli Inkster bracket. Today’s success followed her 6-and-5 triumph over Lizette Salas in Thursday’s Round of 64. And for the second straight day, her victory featured an eagle-3 on the second hole, which played to 464 yards in today’s Round of 32.

“I’m happy with how I played,” said Wie, who took control of the match with a 20-foot birdie on No. 11 to take a commanding 3-up lead. “It was a fun but tough match. I am happy the way I’m playing, and just happy to survive.”

Next up for Wie is her good friend and fellow USA Solheim Cup team hopeful Marina Alex, who easily dispatched Jessica Korda, 5-and-4. Wie coined tomorrow’s duel the “El Pastor” match, after the restaurant the pair has frequented most nights here in Mexico City.

“We are already texting each other. We do dinner every night,” said Wie. “It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be a lot of gifs sent tonight or over in the course of the day.”

Ariya outlasts Moriya to win Jutanugarn sister match

It took all 18 holes, but little sister Ariya Jutanugarn knocked off big sister Moriya Jutanugarn by a 2-up margin. Ariya, the 21-year-old top seed in the Annika Sorenstam bracket, never trailed to 22-year-old Moriya, but was also never able to build a lead of more than two holes.

“Today we had fun because we are sisters, and we always have fun anyways, “said Ariya, who carded four birdies to her sister’s two. “She plays so good, I can’t believe I beat her today because she’s so good.”

“We always say, just have a good day. We know that we both are going to try our best, play our games,” said Moriya, who plans to return to their Orlando, Fla., homebase and cheer on her sister from afar. “We don’t try to be easy on each other. Hopefully next time we are not on the same pool. And don’t have to see each other so early in the week.”

Fast finish

Canada’s Brooke Henderson, the third seed in the Lorena Ochoa bracket, came back from 2-down at the turn with a scintillating run of five birdies in six holes to wrap up a 2-and-1 victory over American Ryann O’Toole.

“I knew I had some work to do,” said Henderson, who won her first major title at last year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. “I was able to do make four birdies in a row (from the 12th) that helped my momentum. I played great today ... and she played great too, so it was just an awesome match.

“I’m hitting the ball extremely well, and on the back nine the putts definitely started to fall with those five birdies. Hopefully I can continue with that tomorrow and you will see me all weekend.”

Lindberg, Jutanugarn share match-play history

The last time Pernilla Lindberg played in a match-play setting was in the 2014 UL International Crown. Lindberg’s Sweden team made it to singles play, where she was paired against an up-and-coming teenager from Thailand – Ariya Jutanugarn. Experience trumped youth on that occasion, with Lindberg taking the match in a convincing 6-and-5 result.

A lot has changed since then – Ariya is now a five-time LPGA Tour winner and major champion while Pernilla is still searching for her first career victory. The World No. 3 player will get a chance at payback on Saturday as she will meet Lindberg again in the Round of 16 in the Annika Sorenstam bracket.

“Obviously, (Ariya) has had a lot of success since then so I will be the underdog,” said Lindberg, who has guaranteed herself the best result of her 2017 season by making it to the top 16. “So, I’m just going to keep going with my strategy and not get worked up about anything and hopefully I can keep getting those irons in close to.”

No change at World No.1

As Lydia Ko has reached the third round and will finish no worse than tied for ninth, she cannot lose her World No. 1 seeding, even with an Ariya Jutanugarn win. The result will mark Ko’s fifth top-10 finish in nine starts this season.

Round-of-16 by the numbers

• 2 - No. 1 seeds remaining in the tournament (Lydia Ko, Ochoa bracket; Ariya Jutanugarn, Sorenstam bracket)
• 5 - Players hoping to become Rolex First-Time Winners (Marina Alex, Cydney Clanton, Karine Icher, Pernilla Lindberg, Angel Yin)
• 10 - Countries represented in the Round of 16 (Canada, one player; People’s Republic of China, one player; England, one player; France, one player; Germany, one player; Republic of Korea, two players; New Zealand, one player; Sweden, one player; Thailand, one player; United States of America, six players)
• 19 - Age of Angel Yin, the youngest player remaining in the tournament
• 27.1875 - Average age of the players remaining in the tournament
• 39 - Age of Cristie Kerr, the oldest player remaining in the tournament; she is one month older than Angela Stanford
• 652 - Combined LPGA starts without a victory for Icher (307), Lindberg (168), Alex (85), Clanton (76) and Yin (16)

Quotable

“I played (here) last November, and wasn’t sure if it suited my game totally. But the last few days reminded me a lot of Sahalee. There are a lot of tight tee shots and I feel very comfortable. But above that, obviously, winning at Sahalee gives me a lot of confidence.”
• Brooke Henderson, comparing the course at the Club de Golf Mexico to Sahalee Country Club, where she won the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

Round 1 at the Lorena Ochoa Match Play

May 04, 2017

 

Match 1  
Lydia Ko NZL Wins 3&2
Ana Menendez MEX
Mi Hyang Lee KOR Wins 3&2
Jennifer Song USA
Suzann Pettersen NOR Wins 2&1
Katie Burnett USA
Mi Jung Hur KOR Wins 4&3
Jacqui Concolino USA
Shanshan Feng CHN Wins 7&5
Laetitia Beck ISR
Candie Kung TPE Wins 1 Up
Sarah Jane Smith AUS
Brooke M. Henderson CAN Wins 20 holes
Katherine Kirk AUS
Austin Ernst USA Wins 2&1
Ryann O'Toole USA
Ariya Jutanugarn THA Wins 5&4
Amy Anderson USA
Moriya Jutanugarn THA Wins 2&1
Alena Sharp CAN
Gerina Piller USA Wins 2&1
Pernilla Lindberg SWE
Brittany Lang USA Wins 19 holes
Beatriz Recari ESP
Ha Na Jang KOR Wins 1 Up
Cydney Clanton USA
Caroline Masson GER Wins 3&2
Morgan Pressel USA
Cristie Kerr USA Wins 2&1
Brittany Altomare USA
Jenny Shin KOR Wins 3&2
Kim Kaufman USA
In Gee Chun KOR Wins 2&1
Laura Gonzalez Escallon BEL
Lizette Salas USA Wins 6&5
Michelle Wie USA
Jessica Korda USA Wins 19 holes
Christina Kim USA
Mo Martin USA Wins 1 Up
Marina Alex USA
Sung Hyun Park KOR Wins 2&1
Simin Feng CHN
Chella Choi KOR Wins 4&3
Sandra Gal GER
Stacy Lewis USA Wins 1 Up
Ayako Uehara JAP
Jodi Ewart Shadoff Wins 1 Up
Angel Yin USA
Inbee Park Wins 2&1
Peiyun Chien TPE
Angela Stanford USA Wins 3&2
Beth Allen USA
Carlota Ciganda ESP Wins 5&3
Gaby Lopez MEX
Karin Icher FRA Wins 4&3
Xiyu Lin CHN
Sei Young Kim KOR Wins 3&1
Maude-Aimee Leblanc CAN
Danielle Kang USA Wins 7&6
Su Oh AUS
Charley Hull ENG Wins 2&1
Nelly Korda USA
Pornanong Phatlum THA Wins 3&2
Megan Khang USA

Sisterly rivalry on the tee

The unpredictable nature of the match-play draw came into clear view on Thursday, as Ariya Jutanugarn and Moriya Jutanugarn both won their first-round matches to set up a second-round sister showdown.

Ariya, the No. 1 seed in the Annika Sorenstam bracket, advanced with a 5-and-4 win over Amy Anderson, while No. 8 seed Moriya, who at age 22 holds a one-year advantage over her 21-year-old sister, notched a 2-and-1 win over Alena Sharp.

“We talked about (playing each other) after we saw the pairing,” said Ariya with a chuckle. “We said we are lucky we hadn’t booked a flight yet. We never know who is going to go back early so we are happy about that.”

“We always try to be ourselves so she’s probably going to say that she’s going to go out there and play her best, so I say I’m going to play my best. So tomorrow will be fun,” added Moriya.

While the Thai sisters were paired together in the final round of last week’s Volunteers of America Texas Shootout presented by JTBC, Ariya says the only time they faced each other in a match came during an amateur event in Canada. They competed as teammates at the last two UL International Crowns in 2014 and 2016.

Gonzalez Escallon upsets Chun in first round

In the first round’s biggest upset, Belgium’s Laura Gonzalez Escallon, the 16th seed in the Juli Inkster bracket, eliminated two-time major champion In Gee Chun by a 2-and-1 margin. Gonzalez Escallon, a 26-year-old LPGA rookie, won four holes with birdies, including the winning putt on No. 17.

“I am excited with this win; the odds were completely against me, 1 versus 16,” said Gonzalez Escallon, a former Purdue Boilermaker who reached the LPGA Tour by finishing in the top 10 of the Symetra Tour’s Volvik Race for the Card in 2016. “I was just trying to focus on having fun. I am lucky to be here, I was not expecting it at the beginning of the year. The most tournaments, I can play the better.”

Henderson outlasts Kirk in 20

The longest match of the day came in the 9 a.m. tee time, as it took Brooke Henderson and Katherine Kirk two extra holes to determine a winner. The 19-year-old Canadian dropped a 40-foot bomb of a putt for eagle to secure the victory after 20 holes and advance to the second round, where she will face American Ryann O’Toole.

Henderson had a four-hole advantage going into the back nine that was cut to two after Kirk holed birdies on 10 and 11. Kirk’s birdie on the 18th made the match all square to force the playoff.

“(Kirk) was playing great and at the turn she made a couple bogeys coming in,” Henderson explained. “I was feeling pretty good at the 4-up lead going to the back nine, and I played great on the back nine as well, but she just made a lot of birdies and I was playing the ball really close almost in every single hole. So, it was definitely a fun match, very exciting and to go two extra holes, I guess that’s what match play is all about.”

Back at it again

Carlota Ciganda seemed to pick up right where she left off after last year’s win at Club de Golf Mexico in the 2016 Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Facing her great friend and host for the week, Gaby Lopez, Ciganda was 1 down after six holes before winning four straight holes to take control of the match and eventually dispatch the Mexico City native by a score of 5 and 3.

Ciganda said she was feeling a bit nervous before the round began: “Playing match play for the first time in a few years is hard because you don’t know how it is going to go and you don’t want to go home after the first round. And then at the same time, I’m staying with (Gaby Lopez) and her family. And they are such good people and I love them, she’s a great player and she’s going to get even better, it was just a shame, 64 players and it was just so unlucky, but it’s something that you can’t control. But I wish her all the best and I hope she comes from it.”

Ciganda hasn’t cracked the top 20 in seven starts since earning her second career victory in Mexico last season, but could be poised to change that this week as she has favorable results in match-play competition. The 26-year-old is a two-time member of the European Solheim Cup Team (2013, 2015) with a 4-1-2 overall record, and was also a member of the victorious Team Spain at the inaugural UL International Crown in 2014, where she posted a 3-1-0 record.

Beware the injured golfer

England’s Charley Hull had to contend with a bad fainting spell midway through the back nine and a two-hour suspension in play due to the threat of lightning before completing a 2-and-1 victory over American Nelly Korda.

“I felt really faint on the 12th fairway and I just kind of collapsed ... I kept seeing flashing lights and that’s when the medics came out,” said Hull. “I was a bit low on blood sugar so they gave me some Pepsi and a syrup with lots of sugar in it. I started feeling a little bit better but I still felt sick.

“I just kind of forgot who I was playing today. I was trying to concentrate on my walking because I was walking so slow because I had no energy. But sometimes beware the injured golfer, I guess!”

Friday tee times adjusted due to impending weather

Due to the likelihood of inclement weather on Friday afternoon, tee times for Friday morning have been moved up two hours. The first group will tee off at 8 a.m. Central, and the final group will tee off at 10:30 a.m. Central.

Preview

DATES: May 04-07
SITE: Club de Golf México, Mexico
PRIZE MONEY: $1,200,000
Click here for tournament stats & info

Ciganda excited to "defend" at Club de Golf Mexico

Carlota Ciganda enjoyed a breakout 2016 season, becoming a Rolex First-Time Win­ner at the KEB Hana Bank Championship, and then following that up just weeks later with a victory at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

Ciganda has returned to Club de Golf Mexico this week and hopes to retain the signature sombrero that is presented to each winner. As the Lorena Ochoa event has shifted to a match-play format, Ciganda is not called a “defending champion,” as the Lorena Ochoa Match Play is considered a new event in LPGA record books. But that doesn’t change the fact that Ciganda is here to win, and is excited about the oppor­tunity to compete in a match-play event.

“I am excited to be here because I love Mexico. It’s always nice to come back,” said Ciganda. “I feel very much like at home with the language and the people. I am happy to be back. I like the format - it is fun to play a match-play tournament. We haven’t had one in like 3 years. When I was an amateur I played lots of match play, so it’s a format that I really like. So, I am just going to try to play my best and see what happens.”

In a cruel twist, Ciganda’s first-round opponent is her close friend Gaby Lopez, with whom Ciganda is actually staying this week. The first-round match of good friends is unfortunate, but a reality in match-play draws.

“It’s hard to play against one of your friends because obviously one of us is going to be out tomorrow,” said Ciganda. “But at the same time that is golf. We are going to play our best and the person that makes the most birdies is the one that’s going to win. And hopefully we’ll have a great day. In the end, on the golf course I am there to play and on the outside I am myself and we are friends.”

Ochoa grateful to her fellow Hall of Famers

When tournament host Lorena Ochoa turned her thoughts to 2017 and the 10th anniversary of her hosting an LPGA event in her native Mexico, she knew that the occasion called for more than a normal celebration. And when that year coincided with her induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, an idea quickly sprung to her mind. Ochoa turned to her long-time golf friends and fellow Hall of Famers - Juli Inkster (Class of 2000), Se Ri Pak (Class of 2007) and Annika Sorenstam (Class of 2003) - to showcase the best of women’s golf in an unprecedented Hall of Famers Exhibition.

“I admire them, what they’ve achieved,” said Ochoa, who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Sept. 26 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. “I respect them a lot. They are great examples for their countries, especially for kids. They really changed the game of golf in their countries. It’s all about the way they handle themselves under pressure.”

The Hall of Famers will participate in an open practice session on Friday at 1 p.m. local time, and will enjoy a photo call at Mexico City’s historic Xochimilco on Saturday morning. But all eyes will be on the four players as they take to the course on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. While the playing format is still being finalized, Ochoa knows that the hours on the golf course will certainly be highlights in her already historic career.

“I just feel blessed,” said Ochoa, who will become the first Mexican-born player to enter the World Golf Hall of Fame. “It’s an honor to be able to play with them and I’m going to enjoy it every step of the way Saturday and Sunday.”

Match -play bracket honors four Hall of Famers

As yet another way of honoring the four Hall of Famers participating in this weekend’s exhibition matches, the four quadrants of the official match-play bracket are named in their honor. The four quadrants and their respective No. 1 seeds are as follows:
• Lorena Ochoa bracket, No. 1 seed Lydia Ko
• Annika Sorenstam bracket, No. 1 seed Ariya Jutanugarn
• Juli Inkster bracket, No. 1 seed In Gee Chun
• Se Ri Pak bracket, No. 1 seed Inbee Park

New No. 1?

With a win this week, World No. 3 Ariya Jutanugarn could potentially leapfrog No. 2 So Yeon Ryu and No. 1 Lydia Ko to take over the top spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

As of May 1, Ko has spent 80 consecutive weeks (98 total) at No. 1, trailing only Yani Tseng, who held the spot for 109 career weeks (2011-2013), and Lorena Ochoa, who holds the record with 158 career weeks at No. 1 (2007-2010).

Ryu is not in the field this week.

No. 1 Scenarios
• Ariya Jutanugarn can become No. 1 if she wins AND Lydia Ko finishes tied for 17th or worse (knocked out in the first or second round)
• If Jutanugarn wins, Ko needs to finish tied for ninth or better (make it to the third round) to remain No. 1
• If Jutanugarn finishes second or worse, Ko will remain No. 1

Quotable

“I was excited about this tournament. Just to play match play is different from every week but it’s also a lot harder. It does take some luck, it takes some luck of the draw but it’s fun, it’s different and I think that’s why you have a good field this week.”
•• Stacy Lewis, on competing in match play this week.





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