Mon, Jul 23, 2007 - Page 17 News List

Kim makes semis of World Match Play Championship

AFP , NEW ROCHELLE, NEW YORK

South Korean 10th seed Kim Mi-hyun reached the semi-finals of the US$2 million Women's World Match Play Championship on Saturday with a 1-up victory over compatriot Lee Jee-young.

Kim was just one of two players within the top 12 that made it to the quarter-finals in the upset-strewn tournament at Wykagyl Country Club.

Among the top players knocked out between Thursday and Friday were world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, third seed Annika Sorenstam, No. 5 Pak Se-ri, eighth seed Paula Creamer and No. 13 Brittany Lincicome, the defending champion.

But Kim, winner of the the SemGroup Championship in May, was able to buck the upset trend to set up a match with 22nd-seeded compatriot Lee Seon-hwa.

The 18-hole final was to follow the semi-finals yesterday.

Kim had been even with Lee Jee-young until a birdie on the 219-yard par-3 13th. She added another hole on the 16th before Lee birdied No. 17 and the two players halved the final hole.

Kim credited a change in her swing with the improved play.

Lee Seon-hwa advanced with a 3 and 2 win over Australian Lindsey Wright, who upset Sorenstam in the second round on Friday.

Earlier on Saturday, Lee Seon-hwa ousted England's Laura Davies 2 and 1 in the third round to book her quarter-final berth.

On the other side of the draw, local favorite Meaghan Francella had her run ended with a 4 and 3 loss to Maria Hjorth of Sweden.

Francella, a native of nearby Port Chester and the 33rd seed, had shocked top-seeded Ochoa in the second round.

It was the second straight time that the 25-year-old upset the world No. 1 in this event, toppling Sorenstam in the semi-finals at Mexico last year.

"I can't believe how many people came out," Francella said. "A lot of people came to Sybase when it was here, but I mean, never this many people. It just goes to show you how much support Port Chester has given me. It's just been incredible."

"I've seen people I haven't seen in years this week. I'm just thankful for the support I have, and my parents were out this week, which is great," she said.

Hjorth, who dispatched Creamer in the second round, took a decisive four-hole advantage in the match with a birdie at the par-3 10th.

The next opponent for Hjorth is 12th seed Ai Miyazato. The Japanese player reached the round of four with a victory over No. 61 Amy Hung, 1-up.

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