Ji-hee Chun has started her quest for a second straight U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour Bank of Hope Match Play ($1.5 million purse) title.
Ji-hee Kim won the first day of group play at Shadow Creek Golf Club (Par 72) in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, by three shots over Matilda Kastren (FIN) with two holes to play. Jeehee, who won last year’s Bank of Hope Match Play, defended her title and took an encouraging step toward her seventh career LPGA Tour victory. She took the lead after Lynn Grant (Sweden) and Maddie Jurick (Kenya) tied in the other match in the group.
Ji-hee is the “oldest” South Korean player on the LPGA Tour, and last year she won at 36 years and 17 days old, making her the oldest South Korean to win on the LPGA Tour. If she wins again this year, she will extend that record by almost a year. The Bank of Hope Match Play is the LPGA Tour’s only match play event, with a total of 64 players in 16 groups of four, with the winner of each group advancing to the round of 16.
Ji-hee took a two-hole lead at the end of the first round after Castren bogeyed the par-4 second hole. Ji-hee extended her lead on the 12th hole (par-4) when Castren failed to make par. Ji-hee dropped the 14th (par-4) but reclaimed the 15th (par-4) before closing out the match at the 16th. Ji-hee will face Zerlik in the second round.
“I was lucky because I didn’t feel very good with my shots today. I think my opponent wasn’t feeling great today either, so it was a little easier for me,” she said. “Even if I didn’t feel good with my shots, I tried to protect them as much as possible and hit them confidently even when my opponent was following me,” she said, adding, “There were a lot of difficult pin positions and I tried to take advantage of that.”
Shin and Annalynn were the only Korean pairings of the day in the first round of group play, and Shin won by three holes. “I had a good round with Na Rin. We went back and forth with birdie after birdie, but I think my mental game kept me going until the end,” said Shin. “My opponents on the other two days are also tough, so I will focus on my game and keep going strong.”먹튀검증
Lee Jung-eun drew with Sophia Schubert (USA), while Kim Se-young lost to Jen Bei-yun (Chinese Taipei) by three holes. “Rookie” Hae-Ran Hae lost to Lindsay Weaver-Wright (USA) by two strokes, while her fellow groupmate Kim Ah-Rim fell to Frida Sinnert (SWE) by three strokes. Hong Ye-eun (KOR) fell to Brooke Henderson (CAN) by three strokes.