NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Annika Sorenstam got exactly what she
wanted -- and then some -- in the first round of the HSBC Women's
World Match Play Championship.
Making her fourth start since returning from disk injuries in
her back and neck, the 36-year-old Swede outlasted 62nd-seeded
Katherine Hull in 20 holes Thursday in hazy and humid conditions at
Wykagyl Country Club.
"It's key for me to just get to play and the more holes the
better," said Sorenstam, seeded third in the 64-player event.
"It's good for me to really get some pressure on myself again. I
really haven't had that this year because I really haven't been in
contention or I just haven't even played."
All square after 12 holes, Sorenstam and Hull each won three of
the final six holes of regulation. Sorenstam took the 219-yard 13th
with a par and won the 16th and 17th with birdies, while the
Australian won 14, 15 and 18 with birdies.
"It was a thriller. There was a lot of drama," said Sorenstam,
a stroke-play winner at Wykagyl in 1998 and 2000.
After halving the first extra hole with a par, Sorenstam won the
match with a conceded par on the par-4 second. Hull made a double
bogey, hitting into two bunkers.
"I'm just going to keep giving myself opportunities and keep
working hard," Hull said. "I think I can compete out here and win
Top-seeded Lorena Ochoa easily advanced, while No. 2 Karrie
Webb, major winners Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel and 2006 winner
Brittany Lincicome were eliminated.
Ochoa, the 2006 Sybase Classic winner at Wykagyl, routed South
African teenager Ashleigh Simon 6 and 5, matching the largest
margin of victory in the three-year history of the event.
"It was a good day," Ochoa said. "In match play, it's always
important to get off to a good start. ... I hope to keep going the
same the next few days."
Charlotte Mayorkas, at No. 63 the highest seed to advance in
tournament history, beat Webb with a birdie on No. 18. Down three
holes after five, Mayorkas tied Webb with a birdie on No. 12.
"You've just got to stay focused," Mayorkas said. "Even
though you're down, you've just got to keep going with it."
The fourth-seeded Kerr, the U.S. Women's Open champion, dropped
a 5-and-4 decision to 61st-seeded Amy Hung, while 59th-seeded
Birdie Kim again got the best of the sixth-seeded Pressel, beating
the Kraft Nabisco winner 2-up. Two years ago, Kim holed out from a
bunker to beat Pressel in the U.S. Women's Open.
"I just played terrible," Pressel said.
Lincicome, seeded 13th, lost 4 and 3 to longtime European
Solheim Cup standout Carin Koch, while LPGA Championship winner
Suzann Pettersen, the No. 7 seed, advanced with a 19-hole victory
over In-Bee Park.
"I'm happy that I played decent," Lincicome said. "I didn't
just give it to her completely. She was making 5-footers to save
par, and 20-footers like they were nothing. She just had a great
day. You can't take anything away from her."
Koch, seeded 52nd, saved par on the par-4 14th after driving
into a concession stand and ended the match on 15 with another
up-and-down par after a poor drive.
"We were both struggling a little bit off the tee," Koch said.
"I managed to get it up and down a few times and made some really
In other upsets, 56th-seeded Hye Jung Choi beat ninth-seeded
Juli Inkster 4 and 3, and 54th-seeded Janice Moodie edged
11th-seeded Ji-Yai Shin in 19 holes.
"I played poorly," said Inkster, a finalist last year. "She
played very well and was very consistent. I got what I deserved."
Ochoa, the tour leader with three victories this year, will face
local favorite Meaghan Francella -- a 2-and-1 winner over Meena Lee
-- on Friday and could meet eighth-seeded Paula Creamer in the
"The greens, even though they had rain yesterday, were a lot
faster today than they were in the pro-am," Ochoa said. "I think
I did a really good job with the speed on the greens. That's going
to be a key this week."
Creamer beat Giulia Sergas 4 and 3.
"I worked on my swing a lot this year, so it was good to go out
and play competitively," said Creamer, the 2005 Sybase winner at
Fifth-seeded Se Ri Pak, coming off her fifth Jamie Farr Owens
Corning Classic victory Sunday, beat Beth Bader 2-up to set up a
second-round match against Christina Kim, a 3-and-2 winner over
U.S. Solheim Cup partner Natalie Gulbis.
Fog delayed the start of play for 15 minutes. ... The
third round and quarterfinals will be played Saturday and the
semifinals and final are set for Sunday. ... The winner will
receive $500,000 from the $2 million purse. ... Maria Hjorth
outlasted Catriona Matthew in 23 holes, the longest match in
tournament history. ... Jeong Jang beat 2005 winner Marisa Baena 3