Wie advances with ease; Icher awaits
GLADSTONE, N.J. -- Michelle Wie has a simple mindset for the Sybase Match Play Championship.
"I'm just thinking of hitting fairways and greens, giving myself some birdie opportunities and keeping it in play," Wie said. "It's definitely a grind out there."
Wie advanced to the round of 16 on Friday, beating Hee Young Park 5 and 4 on a warm, humid afternoon at hilly Hamilton Farm. Wie played only 14 holes after going all 18 on Thursday in her opening 2-up victory over Stacy Prammanasudh.
"Just because I won 5 and 4 doesn't mean that it was really necessarily that much easier," said Wie, seeded eighth. "I still played as hard as I can."
The 20-year-old Stanford student will face 57th-seeded Karine Icher on Saturday morning, with the winner advancing to the afternoon quarterfinals. Icher beat Eun-Hee Ji 2 and 1.
"You never know with match play," Wie said. "I'm just going to go out there and play my hardest. ... I put pressure on myself to play the best I can."
With by far the largest gallery following her every move, Wie took a 4-up lead on the front nine and ended the match with a par on No. 14.
"It's becoming harder and harder to win tournaments. Everyone's playing so much better," said Wie, who has two top-six finishes in six events this year after winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November for her first LPGA Tour title.
Japanese star Ai Miyazato, a three-time winner in the first six events of the season, blew a late lead in a 1-up loss to M.J. Hur.
After the second-seeded Miyazato missed a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 15 that would have given her a 3-up lead, Hur squared the match with birdies on 16 and 17.
On the par-5 18th, Miyazato's wedge shot stopped 7 feet from the hole and Hur's approach rolled up against Miyazato's ball. Miyazato's putt lipped out, and Hur -- after seeing the line on Miyazato's attempt -- made her birdie try to end the match.
"M.J. played really good," said Miyazato, 5 under in her bogey-free round.
Top-seeded Jiyai Shin and fourth-seeded Yani Tseng, the Kraft Nabisco Championship winner in April, also advanced. Shin beat Hee-Won Han 3 and 1, and Tseng topped Candie Kung 2 and 1. No. 5 Cristie Kerr lost 4 and 2 to Sun Young Yoo.
Morgan Pressel rallied to beat Sophie Gustafson in 19 holes, winning the last three holes with birdies. Pressel holed a 5-foot putt on 18 to extend the match and hit a wedge to 3 feet on No. 1 to set up her winning birdie.
"I was shaking on that putt on 18," Pressel said. "If I missed that putt, that's the end of my tournament."
Amy Yang routed 49-year-old Juli Inkster 7 and 6.
"My putting was really good today," Yang said. "I was quite nervous about playing with Juli Inkster. She's a really, really good player, a Hall of Famer."
Yang was 7 under for the 12 holes.
"She played great ... and I didn't do anything to put any pressure on her," Inkster said. "If she keeps playing like that, she's going to win."
Former Duke star Amanda Blumenherst also made quick work of a Hall of Famer, beating seventh-seeded Karrie Webb 7 and 6.
Beatriz Recari followed her first-round victory over 2006 Hamilton Farm winner Brittany Lincicome with a 2-and-1 decision over fellow Spanish star Azahara Munoz.
Recari, seeded 62nd, will face the top-ranked Shin on Saturday morning, with the winner advancing to play Wie or Icher.
"Beating Brittany yesterday taught me a lot," Recari said. "This week has been very positive. I love match play."
DIVOTS: Angela Stanford holed a 6-iron shot from 152 yards for eagle on the par-4 fourth hole in her 4-and-2 victory over former Solheim Cup teammate Pat Hurst. ... The first-round losers played in a pro-am Friday on the adjacent 18-hole, par-3 course.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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