Not only are Jenny Shin and Alison Lee great friends, but the Las Vegas residents live on the same street. Today, they battled for the Group 6 berth in the Round of 16 at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play Hosted by Shadow Creek.
Shin needed to win her match against Lee to force a sudden-death playoff and she did just that, taking down the UCLA alumna by a 4-and-2 margin. That included winning five of the last seven holes, securing birdies at Nos. 10, 14 and 16 along the way to close it out.
“She is one of my closest friends out here, and she lives walking distance away from me,” said Shin. “It was a little difficult, but I just tried to play my game and not smack talk too much. It was a pretty tight match until the very end. She kind of gave it away a few holes, and then I was able to hold my position.
“We tried to talk about daily things we always talk about. We text every night, so we just continued the conversation from last night. It is match play after all. I didn’t want to affect anything [in our friendship] going forward.”
The duo waited on the result of Hyo Joo Kim versus Megan Khang before hopping on the shuttle back to No. 1. A win by Khang and she would have made it a three-way playoff.
Instead, Shin and Lee resumed their duel after Khang bogeyed 18 to drop a 1-up decision to Hyo Joo Kim. It took four extra holes, but the 2016 Volunteers of America Classic champion earned the victory.
“I saw Alison grab driver on the [par-5 4th] tee box and knowing how she hits it a little further than I do, I didn’t think it was a driver hole for her,” Shin said. “She hit a pretty good drive, but it went straight into a tree and she was down in the mulch. Tried to get it out, but she was hitting through the tree. It was a very difficult position.
“I didn’t hit my drive the best but kept it short of the tree. Put myself in position for a decent third shot where I could get to the green. She unfortunately couldn’t do that, and I finished out with a birdie.”
Shin will meet Eun-Hee Ji at 7:40 a.m. PT on Saturday for a spot in the quarterfinals.