The round-of-16 matches are on deck at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards and there’s sure to be plenty of drama over the weekend at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas but pay close attention to who you’ll see competing on Saturday, the first day single-elimination play. Many of the 16 players that advanced to the weekend last year went on to do big things later in the season, with five of those players ultimately becoming Rolex First-Time Winners.
Who will be next to use their match-play momentum as a propellant to success? It’s anyone’s guess, but let’s take a look back on the five that did just that in 2022.
Losing 3 and 2 to Eun-Hee Ji in last year’s championship match proved to be a pivotal moment for Furue. The 2022 LPGA Tour rookie took the lessons she learned from that runner-up finish and applied them to the rest of the season, becoming a Rolex First-Time Winner just six starts later at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open after firing a red-hot, 10-under 62 in the final round. She finished at 21-under overall, defeating Celine Boutier by three shots.
Reto was the next player from the round of 16 to find a win, capturing her first career LPGA Tour title at the CPKC Women’s Open. The South African shot rounds of 62-69-67-67 to finish at 19-under overall and beat major champion Nelly Korda and Korean Hye-Jin Choi by just a single stroke.
Lee wound up finishing solo fourth at last year’s Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards, losing to Lilia Vu in the consolation match on Sunday. Four months later, the Stanford University alum was hoisting her first LPGA Tour trophy at the Portland Classic, winning by one shot over Daniela Darquea. Though it was her first LPGA win of the year, it was her second professional victory of the 2022 season as Lee won Casino Del Sol Golf Classic in April.
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
The very next month it was England’s Ewart Shadoff finally breaking through, taking home the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship title in her 246th career start on the LPGA Tour. The Solheim Cup veteran took down 2021 U.S. Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso, winning by one shot with a four-day total of 273.
Dryburgh was the last Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2022 season, finding her first career victory at the TOTO Japan Classic in early November. She won in resounding fashion, defeating runner-up Kana Nagai by a whopping four shots, but it wasn’t just Dryburgh’s impeccable play that made headlines. In addition to the trophy, the Scot was gifted a toilet for her efforts, a first-place prize that was the talk of town long after the event’s conclusion
Honorable Mention: Lilia Vu
While Vu wasn’t able to nab a victory in the 2022 season, she has certainly made up for it in 2023. The UCLA alum became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the Honda LPGA Thailand and backed that performance up just over a month later, taking home her first major title at The Chevron Championship after defeating Angel Yin in a one-hole playoff. Vu finished solo third at last year’s Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play when she defeated Lee in the consolation match.