Wie, Sorenstam win match openers

Christina Kim was looking forward to facing Michelle Wie in front of a big crowd in the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:35 IST
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Christina Kim was looking forward to facing Michelle Wie in front of a big crowd in the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship. "I'm guessing that they won't all be rooting for me. But I think I can work my charm and convert a few. I love being in the spotlight. I love pleasing people and making a fool out of myself," said the talkative US Solheim Cup star. The second-seeded Wie overcame a shaky start on Thursday to beat Candy Hannemann 5 and 3, while Kim opened with a 2-and-1 win over Joo Mi Kim. "I've played with her a lot. She's really fun to talk to. She calls me sometimes. She's really a nice girl. Obviously, Christina gets very excited as you could see in the Solheim Cup. It's very fun and interesting to watch," Wie said. Sorenstam advances Top-seeded Annika Sorenstam also advanced, following her U.S. Women's Open victory with a 3-and-2 win over Virada Nirapathpongporn on the soggy Hamilton Farm course. "I thought I hit some good shots today, drove it really well and rolled in some putts, so I'm very pleased," said Sorenstam. With about 200 people following Wie on the hazy, humid day, the 16-year-old star lost the first two holes. She hit her opening drive under a tree in the right rough en route to a bogey, then lost the par-5 second when Hannemann made a 3-footer for birdie. "I just got off to a rocky start. Obviously, the first hole was not as a I planned, but after that it was really nice," said Wie. After halving the par-three third, the second-seeded Wie won the next six holes. "In match play, if you don't play good one day, then you're out of it," said Wie, coming off a third-place tie in the Women's Open. Spun back Wie two-putted for pars on the par-4 fourth and fifth holes to square the match and took the lead on the par-4 sixth, hitting a sand wedge shot that spun back within inches of the hole. She hit a 7-iron to 3 feet on the 178-yard seventh to set up a birdie and birdied Nos. 8 and 9 to make the turn 4-up. After a halve on number 10, Wie birdied the par-5 11th to take a 5-up lead. Hannemann won the par-3 12th with a birdie, and they halved the next two holes with pars before Wie ended the match with a birdie her sixth of the day on the par-4 15th. Sorenstam edged Nirapathpongporn three days after beating Pat Hurst 70-74 in an 18-hole playoff for her third US Women's Open title. "I'm going to fight this to the end. I feel very good about everything. I'm not worn out or anything," said Sorenstam. The Swede won numbers 2-4 to take a three-up lead, but Nirapathpongporn took the 10th and 12th to pull within one. Sorenstam won the 13th, Nirapathpongporn took the 14th, and then won the next two holes to end the match. Sorenstam advanced to face Heather Young, a 19-hole winner over Sung-Ah Yim. Hurst needed 21 holes to beat Reilley Rankin. The Open runner-up parred the 18th to force extra holes, then won with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 third. Defending champion Marisa Baena beat Wendy Ward in 21 holes to set up a second-round match against fifth-seeded Paula Creamer. Creamer beat Miriam Nagl 2 and 1. Third-seeded Lorena Ochoa and number four Karrie Webb, two time-winners this year, won their matches. Ochoa beat Il Mi Chung 3 and 1, and Webb topped Nancy Scranton four and two. (AP)