Golf: Hur upsets Ko, Ariya advances at LPGA Match Play

Hur (above) is seeking her third career LPGA title and her first since 2014.
Hur (above) is seeking her third career LPGA title and her first since 2014.PHOTO: EPA

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - South Korea's Hur Mi-Jung upset top-ranked Lydia Ko 1-up Saturday (May 6) to reach the quarter-finals of the LPGA Lorena Ochoa Match Play while third-ranked Thai star Ariya Jutanurgan also advanced.

Seoul-born New Zealander Ko, already assured of holding off Ariya to keep her top ranking for at least another week, became the biggest name yet to fall in Mexico City in the first LPGA match-play event since 2012.

Hur birdied the par-5 second hole and won the par-3 third with a par, but Ko squared the match by winning the par-4 fourth and seventh holes when Hur had bogeys on each.

Ko made a bogey to drop the ninth hole but parred to win the 12th and again pull level.

Hur responded with birdies to win the par-4 13th and par-3 14th. Both parred the 15th and 16th before Ko birdied the par-5 17th to stay alive, but halving the 18th with pars was enough for Hur to claim victory.

Hur, seeking her third career LPGA title and first since 2014, will face China's Feng Shanshan, who eliminated Canada's Brooke Henderson 1-up, in Saturday afternoon's quarter-finals.

The semi-finals and championship match are set for Sunday.

Ariya won the first three holes on her way to defeating Sweden's Pernilla Lindberg 5 and 3 and book a quarter-final date against Cristie Kerr, who ousted fellow American Cydney Clanton 3 and 2.

The 21-year-old Thai star, whose first of five career LPGA titles came a year ago this weekend, opened with a par, then birdied the second and third to go 3-up.

Ariya, the last bracket top seed remaining in the event, won the par-4 eighth with a birdie before she made bogey at nine to hand Lindberg her only hole of the match. Ariya added a birdie at the par-5 11th and a birdie to win the par-4 15th and close out the match.

Henderson won her first hole with a birdie but Feng birdied the next three holes to seize command. Birdies won Henderson the sixth and 13th to square the match but Feng birdied the par-3 16th and matched Henderson's birdie to halve 18 for the triumph.

Michelle Wie and Angel Yin will meet in an all-American quarter-final after Wie ripped compatriot Marina Alex 5 and 4 and Yin downed Germany's Sandra Gal 3 and 2.

Wie won six holes in a seven-hole span starting at the par-5 six, taking four of them with birdies.

The other quarter-final sends South Korea's Kim Sei-Young, a 3-and-1 winner over Britain's Charley Hull, against France's Karine Icher, who eliminated American Angela Stanford 1-up.

Hull birdied the 12th to go 1-up but Kim answered by winning the next two holes with pars, then birdied the par-3 16th and par-4 17th to close out the match.

Icher birdied the par-3 14th to seize the lead and matched Stanford with pars over the final four holes to reach the last eight.