Ji-Hee Kim wins first match to start ‘Match Queen’ streak at 2-0 “Difficult pin position, made the most of it”

Ji-hee Ji, the “eldest” of the Korean players on the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour, has gotten off to a strong start in her quest for a second consecutive Match Play title.

Ji-hee Kim defeated Matilda Kastren (FIN) 3&2 (three-hole victory with two holes remaining) on the first day of the Bank of Hope Match Play ($1.5 million purse) at Shadow Creek GC (par 72-6765) in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on Friday. Ji-hee Kim started in first place after Lynn Grant (SWE) and Maddie Jurick (CAN) tied in their group.

The 64-player field was divided into 16 groups of four, with the leaders of each group playing a single-elimination match to determine the champion from the round of 16 onward. Ji-hee won her group last year with a 2-1 record and then went on to win four straight matches. At the time, she was 36 years and 17 days old, making her the oldest South Korean to win an LPGA event, and she will be looking to extend that record this year.

Ji-hee took the lead with a bogey on the par-4 second hole and never relinquished it. After dropping the title at the fourth (par-4), Ji-hee won the fifth (par-3) and seventh (par-5) to take a three-shot lead, then birdied the 12th (par-4) to end the match at the 16th.

“It wasn’t my best shot, but I think I got lucky because my opponent wasn’t in the best shape either,” said Ji-hee, who won despite one birdie and two bogeys in 16 holes. “I played with confidence after winning the first hole. There were a lot of holes with very difficult pin positions and I tried to capitalize on that.” Jihee will face Zerik in the second round.안전놀이터

In Group 7, Shin Ji-Eun defeated Anna Lin 3&2, and Lee Jung-six in Group 2 drew with Sofia Schubert (USA) to claim a half point, but the rest of the Koreans lost. Kim Se-young (Group 13) fell 3&2 to Jen Bei-yun (Chinese Taipei), while rookie Hae-ran Lee (Group 15) lost 2&1 to Lindsey Weaver-Wright (USA). In Hae-ran’s group, Kim Ah-rim (KOR) fell 3&2 to Frida Sinnert (SWE) and invitee Hong Ye-eun (KOR) fell 3&2 to Brooke Henderson (CAN).

Lilia Vu (USA), seeded No. 1 at No. 4 in the world rankings, defeated Lauren Hartridge (USA) 4&3. Lilia Vu finished third in this event last year.

Last year’s runner-up Ayaka Furue (JPN), Celine Boutier (FRA), Carlota Zimada (ESP), Angelique Yin (USA), and Anna Nordqvist (SWE) all earned one win, while Jennifer Cupich and Danielle Kang (USA) suffered their first losses.

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