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Michelle Wie through but Ai Miyazato out

Michelle Wie has a simple mindset for the Sybase Match Play Championship.

“I’m just thinking of hitting fairways and greens, giving myself some birdie opportunities and keeping it in play,” Wie said. “It’s definitely a grind out there.”

Wie advanced to the round of 16 on Friday, beating Hee Young Park 5 and 4 on a warm, humid afternoon at hilly Hamilton Farm. Wie played only 14 holes after going all 18 on Thursday in her opening 2-up victory over Stacy Prammanasudh.

“Just because I won 5 and 4 doesn’t mean that it was really necessarily that much easier,” said Wie, seeded eighth. “I still played as hard as I can.”

The 20-year-old Stanford student will face 57th-seeded Karine Icher on Saturday morning, with the winner advancing to the afternoon quarterfinals. Icher beat Eun-Hee Ji 2 and 1.

“You never know with match play,” Wie said. “I’m just going to go out there and play my hardest. … I put pressure on myself to play the best I can.”

With by far the largest gallery following her every move, Wie took a 4-up lead on the front nine and ended the match with a par on No. 14.

“It’s becoming harder and harder to win tournaments. Everyone’s playing so much better,” said Wie, who has two top-six finishes in six events this year after winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November for her first LPGA Tour title.

Japanese star Ai Miyazato, a three-time winner in the first six events of the season, blew a late lead in a 1-up loss to M.J. Hur.

After the second-seeded Miyazato missed a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 15 that would have given her a 3-up lead, Hur squared the match with birdies on 16 and 17.

On the par-5 18th, Miyazato’s wedge shot stopped 7 feet from the hole and Hur’s approach rolled up against Miyazato’s ball. Miyazato’s putt lipped out, and Hur—after seeing the line on Miyazato’s attempt—made her birdie try to end the match.

“M.J. played really good,” said Miyazato, 5 under in her bogey-free round.

Top-seeded Jiyai Shin and fourth-seeded Yani Tseng, the Kraft Nabisco Championship winner in April, also advanced. Shin beat Hee-Won Han 3 and 1, and Tseng topped Candie Kung 2 and 1. No. 5 Cristie Kerr lost 4 and 2 to Sun Young Yoo.

Morgan Pressel rallied to beat Sophie Gustafson in 19 holes, winning the last three holes with birdies. Pressel holed a 5-foot putt on 18 to extend the match and hit a wedge to 3 feet on No. 1 to set up her winning birdie.

“I was shaking on that putt on 18,” Pressel said. “If I missed that putt, that’s the end of my tournament.”

Amy Yang routed 49-year-old Juli Inkster 7 and 6.

“My putting was really good today,” Yang said. “I was quite nervous about playing with Juli Inkster. She’s a really, really good player, a Hall of Famer.”

Yang was 7 under for the 12 holes.

“She played great … and I didn’t do anything to put any pressure on her,” Inkster said. “If she keeps playing like that, she’s going to win.”

Former Duke star Amanda Blumenherst also made quick work of a Hall of Famer, beating seventh-seeded Karrie Webb 7 and 6.

Beatriz Recari followed her first-round victory over 2006 Hamilton Farm winner Brittany Lincicome with a 2-and-1 decision over fellow Spanish star Azahara Munoz.

Recari, seeded 62nd, will face the top-ranked Shin on Saturday morning, with the winner advancing to play Wie or Icher.

“Beating Brittany yesterday taught me a lot,” Recari said. “This week has been very positive. I love match play.”

Scores

SYBASE MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP RELATED STORIES





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