Originally created 07/03/05

Sorenstam sent packing by Kung



GLADSTONE, N.J. - Annika Sorenstam tumbled out of the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship on Saturday, blowing a two-hole lead with four to play in her quarterfinal match against 23-year-old Candie Kung.

After conceding a 2-foot par putt to Kung on the par-4 18th, Sorenstam slid her 8-foot par try well right of the hole to end the match.

"Of course I'm disappointed," Sorenstam said. "I had a great chance - 2-up with four to go. ... Candie played very well. Sometimes it just doesn't go your way. To finish with a bogey doesn't make you very happy."

Both players missed the green with their approach shots, with Kung's ball finishing hole-high to the left and Sorenstam ending up above the green on the right.

Kung, the former Southern California star who won all three of her LPGA Tour titles in 2003, nearly took the lead on the par-3 17th, but her 15-foot birdie try lipped out.

Kung made a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th to pull within a hole and squared the match with a par on the par-4 16th after Sorenstam drove into the left rough, failed to reach the green in two and two-putted for a bogey.

"I just told myself to hang in there," Kung said. "I felt confident with my game. I was hitting my shots closer than her most of the day and just wasn't making the putts."

The eighth-seeded Kung will face 60th-seeded Marisa Baena in the semifinals this morning. Baena beat six-time major champion Karrie Webb 2 and 1.

In the other semifinal, 14th-seeded Wendy Ward will play No. 47 Meena Lee. Ward beat 59th-seeded Sophie Gustafson 2 and 1, and Lee held off No. 39 Pat Hurst 1-up.

Sorenstam and Kung were all square after 11 holes, with Kung winning the first and third and Sorenstam taking the second and fifth. Sorenstam took the lead with an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-3 12th and won the par-4 13th with a 6-foot birdie putt.

In their third-round matches Saturday morning, Kung beat 56th-seeded A.J. Eathorne 4 and 3, and Sorenstam held off playoff nemesis Rachel Hetherington 2 and 1.

Sorenstam, 1-3 against Hetherington in LPGA Tour playoffs, won the 16th with a par when the Australian made a double-bogey 6, then hit her tee shot within 3 feet on the 17th to set up a conceded birdie that ended the match.

Sorenstam, who needed a 30-foot birdie putt to finish off Tina Barrett in 21 holes on Friday, had trouble adjusting to the rain-slowed greens a week after tying for 23rd in the U.S. Women's Open on Cherry Hills' fast putting surfaces.

"They're still quite slow," Sorenstam said after her morning match.

Baena, winless in seven seasons on the tour, beat No. 21 Jennifer Rosales in 20 holes Saturday morning, birdieing the par-5 second to win after squaring the match with birdies on Nos. 14 and 17. The 28-year-old Colombian beat No. 5 Natalie Gulbis on Thursday and eliminated major champion Grace Park on Friday.

"It has been an incredible week for me," Baena said. "I haven't been able to put four rounds together (in a stroke-play tournament), but match play lets me just play it hole to hole."

Ward, the only one of the semifinalists with a victory this season, held off Christina Kim 1-up in the third round, and Lee beat Liselotte Neumann 3 and 2.

The third-round losers received $25,000 and the quarterfinal losers got $50,000. The champion will receive $500,000.