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Allisen Corpuz advances to round of 16 at LPGA Match-Play

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Allisen Corpuz reacts to her shot at the 17th tee during the third round of the LPGA’s Palos Verdes Championship golf tournament on April 30 in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Allisen Corpuz reacts to her shot at the 17th tee during the third round of the LPGA’s Palos Verdes Championship golf tournament on April 30 in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.

The Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas will have a little bit of a college feel for Punahou alumna Allisen Corpuz today.

Corpuz, who went to USC, will meet college rival Lilian Vu in the knockout stage after winning their pods on Friday. Corpuz beat Sarah Schmelzel and Vu took out Esther Henseleit.

The rivals say they might have played together just once in their college days, but they consider each other good friends. Vu hit the LPGA Tour in 2019, Corpuz is a rookie this year. Both are considered match play aces, as they both won singles matches at the Curtis Cup. Corpuz won three matches in the 2021 edition in Wales and Vu won four in 2018 in New York with Punahou graduate Mariel Galdiano as a teammate and playing partner.

Corpuz never trailed in her win over Schmelzel, taking the first hole with a par and playing even over the next seven holes. She caught fire from there, winning the next five holes with a birdie and four pars to close out the match 6 and 5.

Schmelzel was hot off an 11th-place finish at the Cognizant Founders Cup but went winless in the round-robin portion of this tournament. Corpuz was the only unbeaten player in her group, finishing ahead of 2022 Lotte Championship in Hawaii champion Hyo Joo Kim, the event’s third seed. Corpuz beat Kim 3 and 2 in their match on Wednesday.

Corpuz is in seventh place in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings despite playing only six events. The leader, Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand, has played 10 events.

Vu beat Charley Hull 5 and 3, Ariya Jutanugarn 2 and 1 and Esther Henseleit 4 and 3. Both Corpuz and Vu have played 47 holes in the first three days, but Vu is 6-1 on the last five holes, while Corpuz is 2-1.

Caroline Masson beat top-seeded Minjee Lee 2 and 1 to finish 3-0 in the group stage.

Masson will face Andrea Lee today in the round of 16. Andrea Lee beat Stephanie Meadow 2 and 1 to take her group at 2-0-1.

After Minjee Lee, coming off a victory two weeks ago in the Founders Cup, won the 14th and 15th to pull within one, Masson ended the match with a par on the 17th.

“I knew it was going to be tough,” Masson said. “Minjee is a great player. She’s been playing great the last — well, years really, but the last few weeks as well. Also it’s match play, and I feel like pretty much anybody can beat anybody out here. I just trusted in my game. Feel like I been hitting it good. I was in control.”

Masson also had 2-and-1 victories over Brittany Altomare on Wednesday and Youngin Chun on Thursday. The four-time Solheim Cup player from Germany won her lone LPGA Tour title in 2016.

“It’s been a cool three days,” Masson said. “I think this golf course is really hard, so I feel like I didn’t really play my best, but also I think many players probably feel that same way. I really made the most of it and just really happy to close it out today.”

Minjee Lee, ranked fourth in the world, was 1-2.

Seven of the 16 weekend qualifiers swept their groups, with Madelene Sagstrom, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Paula Reto, Tiffany Chan, Vu and Hye-Jin Choi matching Masson at 3-0.

Sagstrom beat Ryann O’Toole 2 and 1 to set up a match against Emma Talley.

“I feel all right, so far,” Sagstrom said. “It’s hot. You’re trying to drink and just rest as much as possible and kind of what I’ve been doing. My caddie was a bit angry with me. He’s like, `Come on, Madelene, I don’t want to walk 18 holes.’”

Shadoff topped Jasmine Suwannapura 3 and 2. She will face Chan

“Really happy with where my game is at,” Shadoff said. “I think being a good ball-striker is really an advantage around here. The greens are really firm. Just taking advantage of the shots that I’m hitting. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

Las Vegas resident Jenny Shin rallied for a draw with Haeji Kang to advance with a 2-0-1 record. She will face Annie Park.

“I made golf really difficult today, so I’m very happy to have tied to advance to the 16,” Shin said.

She normally avoids playing in the afternoon heat.

“I just don’t come out at this time,” Shin said. “My practice starts at 6 and ends way before it gets really hot. I wouldn’t torture myself and put myself out here.”

Two groups were decided in playoffs, with Gemma Dryburgh beating Gaby Lopez, and Moriya Jutanugarn edging Ashleigh Buhai. Both won with pars on the first hole. They will face each other today.

In the other matches in the round of 16, Choi will face Eun-Hee Ji and Reto will meet Ayaka Furue.

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