With a win apiece on Thursday’s Day Two of group play at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play Hosted by Shadow Creek, best friends and Solheim Cup teammates Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas will face off on Friday for a berth in the Round of 16.
Kang never trailed en route to a 2-and-1 victory over Madelene Sagstrom, a hard-fought win that saw Kang lose a 3-up lead through 13 holes. Sagstrom birdied Nos. 14 and 16 to pull within one, but Kang finished with par on the difficult par-3 17th to win the match.
“I think we were trying to minimize as much mistakes as possible. We were making a lot of mistakes out there from beginning to end,” said Kang. “She made some good birdies coming in and all I kind of tried to do was keep it steady as much as I can, but there was just so many bogeys out there for us and so many mistakes.”
Salas only dropped one hole in her 3-and-2 win over Albane Valenzuela, turning on the jets on the back nine. Sitting tied through 12 holes, Salas reeled off three consecutive wins at 13, 14 and 15 to go 3 up, including a near ace at No. 14.
“I didn't capitalize on some of the opportunities to go up in the match. I knew the backside is a little tougher, so I had to rely on my accuracy and know that – and my experience as well – that I could pull off some wins and win the match overall,” said Salas. “Capitalized on a couple of her mistakes, but she played solid all day and kept me on my toes.”
Kang and Salas are well-acquainted with each other’s games, both as Solheim Cup teammates and partners at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational. While they will be foes on Friday, the best-friend duo plans to spend Thursday night together catching up on some must-watch TV – the new Friends reunion special – at Kang’s Las Vegas home.
Jin Young Ko survived an 18-hole showdown with Caroline Masson, losing a 3-up lead through 15 holes and ultimately winning a 1-up match with a birdie at No. 18. Bronte Law followed in the match-play footsteps of Sergio Garcia, making an ace at No. 17 to take a 2-and-1 win over Austin Ernst.
Three Friday matches are winner-take-all – Kang vs. Salas, Moriya Jutanugarn vs. Minjee Lee; and Stacy Lewis vs. Patty Tavatanakit.