Not only will Ayaka Furue celebrate her birthday on Friday but also her day three victory at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards, which advanced her to the Round of 16. The 22-year-old defeated Carlota Ciganda, 2 and 1, to win the pod. She entered the round half a point behind Ciganda's 2-point lead, meaning the match was a must win for the No. 10 seed.
“Throughout this week my mentality has been just to win every match, so I kept it the same. Once again, was able to come out on top,” she said. “(Ciganda was) definitely one of the stronger players out here in the field and I felt that, especially coming into the last few holes where she kept trying to battle back to win.”
Furue’s must-win mentality will need to continue heading into the first elimination round Saturday morning, where she will face No. 58 Paula Reto. The Japanese golfer has little experience with match-play, playing just a few events as an amateur, but she enjoys the format.
“You're competing against one person and not the course,” said Furue. “When you can't make birdies it's pretty hard. Obviously you want to make as many birdie chances for yourself as possible. With the conditions of the course this week it was kind of hard to make those chances so I had to rely on the pars and score where I could.”