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Minjee Lee wins, Danielle Kang loses as LPGA Match-Play tees off

Sportsnaut
Minjee Lee of Australia tees off on six during round two of the Chevron Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Friday, April 1, 2022.
Credit: Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK

Top-seeded Minjee Lee, three days removed from her first LPGA victory of the year, cruised to a win Wednesday in her opener at the LPGA Match-Play at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas.

The 25-year-old Australian routed South Korea’s Youngin Chun 6 and 5. Lee carded birdies to win seven of the players’ first 11 holes, then dropped one hole before halving No. 13 to seal the match.

“I made a bunch of birdies and I was able to keep the momentum going,” said Lee, who led the tour with a 68.893 scoring average entering the week. “It was nice to get done early today. It’s getting really hot.”

The 64-player field is divided into 16 groups of four in a round-robin group stage. The group winners will advance to a 16-player, single-elimination bracket.

Malaysia’s Kelly Tan turned in the day’s biggest rout, a 7-and-6 destruction of Race to the CME Globe leader Danielle Kang. Tan never lost a hole, and at one stretch she won six consecutive holes, all with birdies.

“I thought I played really well today, gave myself lots of chances,” Tan said. “Yeah, we played against Danielle today and it … looked like she was in a little bit of pain, which, I felt a little bad.”

Kang, a member of Shadow Creek, is trying to rebound from a back ailment that caused her to withdraw from two of her previous three events.

“I’m just doing everything I can off the golf course to get me through the days and to get back to where I was, and it’s going to take some time,” she said. “It’s going to take some patience and time for everybody. I just need to thank my team for getting me here. It’s a little win that I have to take right now.”

Other Wednesday winners included Lee and Germany’s Caroline Masson in Group 1; Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan in Group 2; Allisen Corpuz in Group 3; Tan and South Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji in Group 4; Lauren Stephenson and Emma Talley in Group 5; Australia’s Hannah Green and South Korea’s Jenny Shin in Group 6; Elizabeth Szokol and South Africa’s Paula Reto in Group 7; and Cheyenne Knight and Mexico’s Gaby Lopez in Group 8.

Also winning were Spain’s Carlota Ciganda in Group 10; Annie Park and France’s Perrine Delacour in Group 11; Ryann O’Toole and Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom in Group 12; South Korea’s Hye-Jin Choi and India’s Aditi Ashok in Group 13; Lilia Vu and Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn in Group 14; and England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Thailand’s Jasmine Suwannapura in Group 15.

Ewart Shadoff earned a 6-and-5 victory over defending champion Ally Ewing, who missed the cut in each of her past three tournaments.

–Field Level Media