Pressel, Munoz cruise into semis at Sybase Match Play
Gladstone, NJ (Sports Network) - Morgan Pressel rolled to a 5 & 4 win over Anna Nordqvist in Saturday's quarterfinals at the Sybase Match Play Championship.
Pressel had never reached the quarterfinals the first two years of this event. She owns two LPGA Tour titles, but none since late in the 2008 season.
She will face Azahara Munoz, who trounced Stacy Lewis, 5 & 4. Lewis, the sixth seed, had been the highest remaining seed. That title now belongs to the 15th- seeded Pressel.
The other semifinal will pit Vicky Hurst against Candie Kung. Hurst fended off So Yeon Ryu, 2-up, while Kung bested Julieta Granada, 2 & 1.
Earlier in the day, Pressel needed 19 holes to defeat second-seeded Na Yeon Choi. Pressel carried that momentum into the afternoon match with Nordqvist.
Pressel played the front nine at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in even-par, but she was 3-up. She took the third and seventh with pars and won the par-five fifth with a birdie.
Around the turn, Pressel moved to 4-up with a par on the 10th. Nordqvist responded with a birdie on 11 to win her only hole of the match.
Pressel came right back with birdies on 12 and 13 to go 5-up. After Pressel's par putt was conceded on the 14th, Nordqvist failed to birdie the hole and the match was over.
"I really enjoy match play. I really like the intensity of every shot," Pressel said in a TV interview. "You can bounce back from making mistakes, but I mean, look at two of my last three holes how important it was to putt first and to make those birdie putts. Anna gave me a few gifts and I took advantage of them where I could."
Munoz, who teamed with Catriona Matthew to beat Lewis and Angela Stanford last fall in a Solheim Cup match, surprisingly had an easy time dispatching Lewis, who beat Sun Young Yoo, 2-up, earlier Saturday. Munoz eagled the second and parred the third to grab an early 2-up lead.
Bogeys on the seventh and ninth dropped Lewis 4-down. Munoz birdied the 11th, but Lewis came right back with a birdie on No. 12 to get back to 4-down. Munoz closed out the match with a par on the 13th.
"I was hitting the ball really well, I hit every fairway and pretty much every green, and I was putting second a lot, so I felt really in control of the match," Munoz stated in a on-course interview. "Solheim definitely helped me. I believe in myself a lot more."
Ryu, the reigning U.S. Women's Open champion, had the lead on the front nine, but Hurst caught fire on the back. Ryu was 1-up at the turn, but Hurst birdied the 11th to square the match.
The duo traded wins on the next two holes. Hurst won the 15th with a par and birdied the 16th to go 2-up with two to go. Ryu birdied 17, but Hurst two- putted for par on the par-five 18th to claim the win.
"I left a lot of shots out there today, and pretty much all week," Hurst admitted in a televised interview. "But I've been playing against four really great players, but being up at the right time is what it's all about."
Kung and Granada each had a pair of wins on the front nine. Kung birdied the 11th, but Granada responded with a birdie on No. 13 to square the match. Kung regained the lead with a birdie on 15 and moved 2-up with a par on the 16th. They matched pars on the 17th to give Kung the match.
"I'm playing great right now. This afternoon, I was a little loose on the swing, but I was able to hang in there," Kung said on TV. "I made some pars and got a couple of putts to drop. I've been putting great the last couple of weeks."
NOTES: Munoz, a runner-up earlier this year at the LPGA LOTTE Championship, and Hurst are both searching for their first LPGA Tour title. Kung has four tour wins, but like Pressel, hasn't won since the 2008 season.
05/19 18:32:14 ET