WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Michelle Wie reacted to a missed putt on the seventh hole during her quarterfinal loss to Brittany Lincicome yesterday.
Wie, Sorenstam ousted
The event loses some star power as the top two seeds are eliminated in the quarterfinals
GLADSTONE, N.J. » Michelle Wie dropped out first.
Annika Sorenstam was sent packing about an hour later.
Today, 9 a.m., KGMB
Just like that, the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship lost its top two seeds and a possible dream final-round showdown.
Long-hitting Brittany Lincicome knocked out Wie with a 4-and-3 victory in the quarterfinals yesterday, and 46-year-old Juli Inkster beat Sorenstam 1 up with a 4-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole -- moments after Sorenstam missed a 6-footer.
"What can you say other than that Juli beat me," Sorenstam said. "She played very good. I got off to a really good start and she finished very strong."
The 16-year-old Wie, winless in 30 starts on the LPGA Tour, beat Se Ri Pak 2 and 1 in their morning third-round match, then fell behind early against the 20-year-old Lincicome on the hilly Hamilton Farm course.
"I thought I played really well. I just had a lot of bad breaks," Wie said. "Brittany played really good today and that's how match play is.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed that I didn't win, but I still feel satisfied with the way I played. I didn't lose because I didn't play well. It's just that I played well and she hit a couple of shots better than me."
Lincicome struggled to come up with specifics when asked about Wie's bad breaks.
"I don't remember there being any like bad kicks. I don't think," she said. "She had a couple of putts where she blew it by."
Lincicome had no trouble relating the significance of the victory.
"It was huge," she said.
"My driving and putting are coming together. Normally, I would do one good, but the other one won't be there. This week, for some reason, they're both coming together. I'm hitting the fairways and making the putts."
The top-seeded Sorenstam, a playoff winner Monday in the U.S. Women's Open, was 3 up after eight holes and 2 up after 11 before Inkster fought her way back.
"I think everyone knows Juli is a great competitor, great golfer and great athlete," Sorenstam said. "When you stand on the tee and play against Juli, you know it's going to be a good match."
Inkster has thrived in match play, going 5-1 in Solheim Cup singles and winning 18 straight matches in her 1980-82 U.S. Women's Amateur victories.
"It's all about momentum," she said. "It's all about trying to change the tide, trying to just play your own game."
The Hall of Famer will face fifth-seeded Paula Creamer in the semifinals this morning. Creamer beat fourth-seeded Karrie Webb 3 and 2.
"I love Paula to death," Inkster said. "She was my partner at the Solheim Cup, so we're just going to go out there and play some golf and see what happens."
Brittany Lincicome wiped her eyes after beating Michelle Wie on the 15th hole during the quarterfinals yesterday.
Lincicome, second in the tour's driving-distance stats with a 281.7-yard average, was as long or longer than Wie off the tee.
"She is definitely a long hitter. She was keeping up," said Lincicome, whose father, Tom, doubles as her caddie.
Lincicome will meet No. 3 Lorena Ochoa, a 3-and-2 winner over Sophie Gustafson.
Ochoa and Lincicome are friends from their Fellowship of Christian Athletes group.
"It didn't surprise me," Ochoa said about her friend's victory. "She's the type of player that you could see that she's good for match play. She hits the ball really far and has a lot of confidence in herself."
The 39th-seeded Lincicome, best known as the first-round leader in the 2004 U.S. Women's Open as an amateur, had a 2-up lead after five holes. She won the par-4 first, fourth and fifth holes with birdies and lost the par-3 third on Wie's birdie.
"I got up early, which was huge," Lincicome said. "I missed like one fairway all day and I was making everything I looked at."
Wie, set to play in the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic next week, fell 3 down on the 380-yard 10th when Lincicome hit a wedge to 2 feet to set up a birdie. Lincicome then won the par-4 13th with a par and Wie took the par-4 14th with a birdie.
Lincicome ended it with a conceded par on the par-4 15th after Wie took two shots to get out of a fairway bunker and left her fourth shot 12 feet short. Wie conceded after Lincicome's putt from the back fringe stopped a foot from the hole.
Sorenstam routed Brittany Lang 6 and 5 in the morning, holing a 75-yard wedge shot for an eagle on No. 9, then got off to a fast start against Inkster.
The Swede birdied three of the first four holes to take a 3-up lead. She lost the par-4 sixth with a bogey -- her first in 29 holes -- but regained a three-hole lead with a birdie on the par-3 seventh. Inkster won the par-4 eighth with her first birdie of the match and cut the deficit to a hole with a par on No. 10.
Sorenstam won the par-5 11th with a birdie, but Inkster birdied 14 and 15 to tie it. On the par-4 16th, Inkster holed a birdie chip and Sorenstam matched her with a 7-foot putt.
"Those are the ones you practice to try to make and most of the time you don't make it," Inkster said. "I was fortunate enough to make it there and then Annika hit a great putt there right on top of me."
They halved the par-3 17th with pars and Inkster ended it on the par-4 18th.
"I feel very fortunate," Inkster said.
In the third round, Creamer beat fellow teenager Morgan Pressel 3 and 1, Ochoa eliminated Mi Hyun Kim 3 and 2, and Lincicome beat Kyeong Bae 3 and 2.
Wie gives her opponents the silent treatment
Michelle Wie didn't speak to her opponents yesterday in the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship.
"She's not much of a talker," Se Ri Pak said after her 2-and-1 loss in the third round. "Me, I was having fun with my caddie. She wasn't really talking at all. We were not having any conversation at all, but this is a match game. It was a little weird, but that's fine. She wanted to win."
Hawaii's Wie also gave Brittany Lincicome the silent treatment during the 16-year-old star's 4-and-3 loss in the quarterfinals.
"I would tell her 'Good shot' and she would say nothing in return," Lincicome said. "Maybe she was just focused. Maybe I was messing her up by trying to talk to her."
Lincicome sticking to women's tour
Lincicome was asked if she would ever consider following Wie's lead by playing in men's tournaments.
"Like people have said out here, 'If you can't beat Annika (Sorenstam), you don't need to go play another tour,' " Lincicome said. "If you're not No. 1 on this tour, you don't need to go to another tour. So after I dominate this one, maybe I'll try it, but it's definitely not anywhere in my future."