WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Michelle Wie teed off on the sixth hole yesterday during her first-round victory over Candy Hannemann in Gladstone, N.J.
Wie advances to second round
A match against Solheim Cup star Christina Kim is next
GLADSTONE, N.J. » Christina Kim was looking forward to facing Michelle Wie in front of a big crowd in the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship.
TV: 2:30 p.m. (tape delayed), Golf Channel
"I'm guessing that they won't all be rooting for me," the talkative U.S. Solheim Cup star said. "But I think I can work my charm and convert a few. ... I love being in the spotlight. I love pleasing people and making a fool out of myself."
The second-seeded Wie overcame a shaky start yesterday to beat Candy Hannemann 5 and 3, and Kim opened with a 2-and-1 win over Joo Mi Kim.
"I've played with her a lot," Wie said. "She's really fun to talk to. She calls me sometimes. She's really a nice girl. ... Obviously, Christina gets very excited as you could see in the Solheim Cup. It's very fun and interesting to watch."
Top-seeded Annika Sorenstam also advanced, following her U.S. Women's Open victory with a 3-and-2 win over Virada Nirapathpongporn on the soggy Hamilton Farm course.
"I thought I hit some good shots today, drove it really well and rolled in some putts, so I'm very pleased," Sorenstam said.
With about 200 people following Wie on the hazy, humid day, the 16-year-old star from Punahou School lost the first two holes. She hit her opening drive under a tree in the right rough en route to a bogey, then lost the par-5 second when Hannemann made a 3-footer for birdie.
"I just got off to a rocky start," Wie said. "Obviously, the first hole was not as a I planned, but after that it was really nice."
After halving the par-3 third, the second-seeded Wie won the next six holes.
"In match play, if you don't play good one day, then you're out of it," said Wie, coming off a third-place tie in the Women's Open. "Nothing is guaranteed here. I think it makes it a lot more challenging and a lot more intense."
Wie two-putted for pars on the par-4 fourth and fifth holes to square the match and took the lead on the par-4 sixth, hitting a sand wedge shot that spun back within inches of the hole. She hit a 7-iron to 3 feet on the 178-yard seventh to set up a birdie and birdied Nos. 8 and 9 to make the turn 4 up.
Annika Sorenstam advanced yesterday, three days after winning an 18-hole playoff to take the U.S. Women's Open title.
After a halve on No. 10, Wie birdied the par-5 11th to take a 5-up lead. Hannemann won the par-3 12th with a birdie, and they halved the next two holes with pars before Wie ended the match with a birdie -- her sixth of the day -- on the par-4 15th.
Sorenstam edged Nirapathpongporn three days after beating Pat Hurst in an 18-hole playoff for her third U.S. Women's Open title.
"I'm going to fight this to the end," Sorenstam said. "I feel very good about everything. I'm not worn out or anything."
The Swede won Nos. 2-4 to take a 3-up lead, but Nirapathpongporn took the 10th and 12th to pull within one. Sorenstam won the 13th, Nirapathpongporn took the 14th, and Sorenstam won the next two holes to end the match.
"It was a little bit back and forth in the end, but I thought the golf was pretty good," Sorenstam said. "I think she's very nice. We had a very good time today."
Sorenstam advanced to face Heather Young, a 19-hole winner over Sung-Ah Yim.
Hurst needed 21 holes to beat Reilley Rankin. The Open runner-up parred the 18th to force extra holes, then won with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 third.
"I guess I should figure out how to win more holes early on," Hurst said.
No. 3 seed Lorena Ochoa defeated Il Mi Chung 3 and 1 in her first-round match yesterday.
Defending champion Marisa Baena beat Wendy Ward in 21 holes to set up a second-round match against fifth-seeded Paula Creamer.
"It was frustrating because I didn't perform the way I wanted to," Baena said. "I'm just happy that I have another day tomorrow."
Creamer beat Miriam Nagl 2 and 1.
"I didn't play very good at all. I was hitting it all over the place," Creamer said. "I really love match play. It doesn't really matter what is going on as long as you are playing better than your opponent."
Third-seeded Lorena Ochoa and No. 4 Karrie Webb, two time-winners this year, won their matches. Ochoa beat Il Mi Chung 3 and 1, and Webb topped Nancy Scranton 4 and 2.
After heavy rain Wednesday morning and overnight showers, the players were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls in the fairways and fringe.
Sixth-seeded Cristie Kerr and eighth-seeded Juli Inkster also advanced, while No. 7 Yuri Fudoh and No. 10 Ai Miyazato were eliminated.
Kerr beat Young Jo 1-up, Inkster held off Tina Barrett 2 and 1, 58th-seeded Brandie Burton beat Fudoh 4 and 3, and 55th-seeded Kyeong Bae topped Miyazato 2-up.
In other matches, 2005 runner-up Meena Lee beat Sherri Steinhauer 2 and 1, Morgan Pressel edged Sarah Lee in 20 holes, Se-Ri Pak topped Angela Stanford 5 and 4, and Lorie Kane beat Natalie Gulbis 3 and 2.