Francella falls to Hjorth; No. 10 Kim to face Lee in semis
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Meaghan Francella needed to win the par-4 15th to extend her match with Maria Hjorth. The local favorite never had a chance after her 7-iron approach sailed long and settled in thick rough next to a back bunker.
"It just kind of goes to show you how my day went," Francella said.
Standing in the bunker with the ball well above her feet, she gripped down on the steel on her wedge and chopped it out about 5 feet to the fringe.
"I actually hit a decent shot," Francella said. "I think it was just like one of those things, where it's like, "Oh, OK.'"
Hjorth ended up halving the hole with a conceded bogey to end Francella's run in the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship. With the 4-and-3 victory Saturday, the 40th-seeded Hjorth set up a semifinal match Sunday against Japanese star Ai Miyazato.
"This week has been really, really good off the tee," Hjorth said. "I guess I'm considered as a long hitter, so that sometimes can be a bit of a help. I think also being able to have spin on the ball on these greens, because they're starting to firm up a lot and be really quick, is a big advantage, too."
The 12th-seeded Miyazato birdied the par-5 18th to beat No. 61 Amy Hung 1-up.
With wind gusts again making club selection difficult on the hilly Wykagyl course, the 33rd-seeded Francella, from nearby Port Chester, fell to Hjorth after beating No. 1 Lorena Ochoa 1-up Friday and topping Pat Hurst 2 and 1 on Saturday morning.
"I tried my best," said Francella, the only American in the final eight. "Unfortunately, I didn't come out on top. ... The week has just been incredible. I've seen people I haven't seen in years."
After Francella won the par-4 first with a par, Hjorth -- a two-time European Solheim Cup player who won both of her LPGA Tour titles in 1999 -- took the par-4 second and par-3 fourth with pars and moved 2-up with a birdie on the par-4 fifth.
Francella won the par-5 sixth with a birdie, but the tall Swede countered with pars on the par-3 seventh and par-5 ninth and a birdie on the par-3 10th to take a 4-up lead. Francella took the par-4 12th with a par, Hjorth won the par-3 13th with another par and ended the match on the 15th.
"She played well," Hjorth said. "She just struggled with her putting."
Hjorth opened the tournament with a 23-hole victory over Catriona Matthew, knocked off eighth-seeded Paula Creamer 1-up Friday, and beat Angela Stanford with an eagle on the first extra hole -- the par-5 16th -- in the third round Saturday morning.
"Maria played so well," Francella said. "She didn't make any mistakes."
Miyazato, winless in 42 career LPGA Tour starts, beat Hung after stopping No. 37 Christina Kim 2 and 1 in the morning.
"It was fun, but I'm really tired now," Miyazato said.
She's familiar with Hjorth's game.
"She hits the ball very long and has a good short game," Miyazato said.
Mi Hyun Kim, the SemGroup Championship winner in May in Oklahoma, halved the 18th with a par to finish off Jee Young Lee. In the morning, the eight-time tour winner beat No. 39 Rachel Hetherington 3 and 2.
Seon Hwa Lee edged No. 27 Laura Davies 2 and 1 in the third round.
"I'm just going to be aggressive tomorrow and have fun," Seon Hwa Lee said.
The winner will receive $500,000 from the $2 million purse. The runner-up will get $300,000, third place is worth $200,000 and fourth $150,000. The losing quarterfinalists received $50,000 and the third-round losers got $25,000. ... Kim and Francella were the only 2007 tour winners to reach weekend play. ... Tiger Woods topped an HSBC-commissioned U.S. Internet survey as the top sports role model for children.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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