The first day of the 2022 Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards brought competition almost as hot as the triple-digit weather. Shadow Creek, one of the most exclusive tracks in the United States, served as a stern test for 64 of the world’s greatest female golfers.
No. 61 Kelly Tan made a massive splash in her first-ever match-play tournament, never trailing in a 7-and-5 victory over No. 4 Danielle Kang. Tan won six consecutive holes from 5-10, building a 7-up lead over the American Solheim Cup star, who has been battling a back injury for the last month.
“I thought I played really well today, gave myself lots of chances. Yeah, we played against Danielle today and it didn't seem like she, it looked like she was in a little bit of pain, which, I felt a little bad,” said Tan, a two-time Olympian. “Me and my caddie were just trying to focus on my game. The end goal is to win the match and we did, and I'm super proud of the way I played.”
Kang admitted that if this event weren’t so close to her Las Vegas home, or part of her personal sponsor family, she likely wouldn’t be teeing it up this week. But, after a month of treatment and rest to remedy her ailing back, she looked to the match-play format on a familiar home course to test her strength in competition ahead of next week’s U.S. Women’s Open.
“I'm just doing everything I can off the golf course to get me through the days and to get back to where I was, and it's going to take some time,” said Kang, a member at Shadow Creek. “It's going to take some patience and time for everybody. I just need to thank my team for getting me here. It's a little win that I have to take right now.”
No. 50 Jodi Ewart Shadoff notched one of the biggest upsets of the day, fighting back from an early deficit to notch a 6-and-5 victory over No. 15 Ally Ewing¸ the defending Match-Play champion. Ewart Shadoff, a veteran of three European Solheim Cup teams, won three consecutive holes to go 2 up through five holes and took an insurmountable 6-up lead with another three straight winning holes at 9, 10 and 11.
“I've been working really hard on my tempo,” said Ewart Shadoff. “It's been really helpful with the pace and speed control. I felt like coming into this week I put a lot of hard work into doing that and I saw the results out there on the course today.”
Another upset went to No. 63 Tiffany Chan, who earned a 3-up win over No. 2 Atthaya Thitikul. Chan, a sponsor exemption, held a 6-up lead through 11 holes. Thitikul, who won the 2022 JTBC Classic, fought back with four consecutive victories to pull within two, but Chan captured the big win with a par on No. 17.
Top-seeded Minjee Lee lived up to that billing on Wednesday, taking a 6-and-5 win over Youngin Chun.
“I made a bunch of birdies and I was able to keep the momentum going to 10, 11, and then played a few more and finished on 13,” said Lee, who reached the Match-Play quarterfinals in 2021. “It was nice to get done early today. It's getting really hot.”
GROUP-PLAY DAY ONE RESULTS
Group 1 – Minjee Lee def. Youngin Chun, 6 and 5; Caroline Masson def. Brittany Altomare, 2 and 1
Group 2 – Tiffany Chan def. Atthaya Thitikul, 3 and 2; Alison Lee tied with Amy Olson
Group 3 – Allisen Corpuz def. Hyo Joo Kim, 3 and 2; Matilda Castren tied with Sarah Schmelzel
Group 4 – Kelly Tan def. Danielle Kang, 7 and 6; Eun-Hee Ji def. Pajaree Anannarukarn, 4 and 2
Group 5 – Emma Talley def. Jennifer Kupcho, 2 and 1; Lauren Stephenson def. Stacy Lewis, 1 up
Group 6 – Hannah Green def. Haeji Kang, 2 and 1; Jenny Shin def. Sophia Popov, 2 and 1
Group 7 – Paula Reto def. Nanna Koerstz Madsen, 2 and 1; Elizabeth Szokol def. Yealimi Noh, 2 and 1
Group 8 – Cheyenne Knight def. Gemma Dryburgh, 2 and 1; Gaby Lopez def. Chella Choi, 6 and 5
Group 9 – Jeongeun Lee6 tied with Maude-Aimee Leblanc; Moriya Jutanugarn tied with Ashleigh Buhai
Group 10 – Ayaka Furue tied with Pauline Roussin-Bouchard; Carlota Ciganda def. Angel Yin, 2 up
Group 11 – Annie Park def. Georgia Hall, 2 and 1; Perrine Delacour def. Mina Harigae, 4 and 3
Group 12 – Madelene Sagstrom def. Albane Valenzuela, 1 up; Ryann O’Toole def. Wei-Ling Hsu, 1 up
Group 13 – Aditi Ashok def. Lizette Salas, 3 and 1; Hye-Jin Choi def. Su Oh, 5 and 4
Group 14 – Lilia Vu def. Charley Hull, 5 and 3; Ariya Jutanugarn def. Esther Henseleit, 2 and 1
Group 15 – Jodi Ewart Shadoff def. Ally Ewing, 6 and 5; Jasmine Suwannapura def. So Yeon Ryu, 5 and 3
Group 16 – A Lim Kim tied with Stephanie Meadow; Megan Khang tied with Andrea Lee
POINTS THROUGH DAY ONE
Group 1 – Minjee Lee, 1; Caroline Masson, 1; Youngin Chun, 0; Brittany Altomare, 0
Group 2 – Tiffany Chan, 1; Alison Lee, .5; Amy Olson, .5; Atthaya Thitikul, 0
Group 3 – Allisen Corpuz, 1; Matilda Castren, .5; Sarah Schmelzel, .5; Hyo Joo Kim, 0
Group 4 – Kelly Tan, 1; Eun-Hee Ji, 1; Danielle Kang, 0; Pajaree Anannarukarn, 0
Group 5 – Emma Talley, 1; Lauren Stephenson, 1; Jennifer Kupcho, 0; Stacy Lewis, 0
Group 6 – Hannah Green, 1; Jenny Shin, 1; Haeji Kang, 0; Sophia Popov, 0
Group 7 – Paula Reto, 1; Elizabeth Szokol, 1; Nanna Koerstz Madsen, 0; Yealimi Noh, 0
Group 8 – Cheyenne Knight, 1; Gaby Lopez, 1; Gemma Dryburgh, 0; Chella Choi, 0
Group 9 – Jeongeun Lee6, .5; Maude-Aimee Leblanc, .5; Moriya Jutanugarn, .5; Ashleigh Buhai, .5
Group 10 – Carlota Ciganda, 1; Ayaka Furue, .5; Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, .5; Angel Yin, 0
Group 11 – Annie Park, 1; Perrine Delacour, 1; Georgia Hall, 0; Mina Harigae, 0
Group 12 – Madelene Sagstrom, 1; Ryann O’Toole, 1; Albane Valenzuela, 0; Wei-Ling Hsu, 0
Group 13 – Aditi Ashok, 1; Hye-Jin Choi, 1; Lizette Salas, 0; Su Oh, 0
Group 14 – Lilia Vu, 1; Ariya Jutanugarn, 1; Charley Hull, 0; Esther Henseleit, 0
Group 15 – Jodi Ewart Shadoff, 1; Jasmine Suwannapura, 1; Ally Ewing, 0; So Yeon Ryu, 0
Group 16 – A Lim Kim, .5; Stephanie Meadow, .5; Megan Khang, .5; Andrea Lee, .5