After Emma Talley’s second-round match at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards on Wednesday, where she came away with a hard-fought tie with Stacy Lewis, the Kentucky native said, “This is the pressure we (players) live for.” This pressure, in turn, leads to the excitement that fans live for, especially at a match-play event.
During Friday’s third round of pod play, fans can expect both pressure and excitement from Group Five, featuring Americans Talley, Lewis, Jennifer Kupcho and Lauren Stephenson. Talley leads the pod with 1.5 points followed closely by Kupcho and Stephenson with a point each. Lewis has a half point after Wednesday’s tie. The proximity in points means it’s still anyone's game — except for Lewis — keeping in mind that only one of the four players will advance to Saturday morning’s Round of 16. Let’s look at the scenarios.
If Talley defeats Stephenson, she will move on no matter the outcome of the Lewis/Kupcho match. If Talley ties and Kupcho wins, we’re looking at a playoff between the two. The same goes if Kupcho and Stephenson win. The sudden-death playoffs will begin on hole 1. If Lewis defeats Kupcho, Talley would advance with a win or tie, while Stephenson would need a win. No matter the outcome, don’t take your eyes off these matches.
“Going into the round, I know I have to win pretty much,” Kupcho said. “That's kind of how it should be, I think, is having every match count. It’s going to be exciting.”
Though Lewis will not advance to the Round of 16, her work on the course is not over. When asked if the Solheim Cup captain would be scouting the young Americans in her group, Lewis said, “One hundred percent.”
“Emma and Lauren, I really haven't played a lot with. It's more to see how they play and kind of their demeanor on the golf course, just thinking about who they could potentially pair up well with,” she said.
Though Talley has a long way to go to make the Solheim team, she was proud of her performance against the captain Wednesday, battling back from a 4-hole deficit to tie the match on No. 18.
“She probably realized that I have grit and I don't give up. I don't think she's too happy with me right now, but maybe later,” Talley laughed.