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 SURVIVES, 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.

SUNDAY MORNING’S SEMIFINAL MATCH-UPS

7:30 a.m. - Mi Jung Kur (KOR, winner of the Lorena Ochoa bracket) vs. Sei Young Kim (KOR, winner of the Se Ri Pak bracket)

7:40 a.m. - Ariya Jutanugarn (THA, winner of the Annika Sorenstam bracket) vs. Michelle Wie (USA, winner of the Juli Inkster bracket)

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

Written By: LPGA Communications

 

Image Source: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America

Upcoming Events

No events found

BOOK-A-T-TIME

King's Lynn Golf Club

Grove Farm Antiques

Injured Jockeys Fund

Tristan Jones Photography

Racing Welfare