Seon Hwa Lee defeated Mi Hyun Kim 2-up and Ai Miyazato 2&1 to win the HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship. It is Lee’s first victory of 2007 and the second of her two-year career. Miyazato advanced to the final by beating Maria Hjorth 3&2 in the other semi-final, and Kim took third place by defeating Hjorth 2-up in the consolation match.
In the final, Lee won three of the first four holes to go 2-up. After trading halves for the next six, Miyazato won 11 when Lee was unable to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker. Seon Hwa regained her 2-up lead when Ai’s birdie putt from the second-cut hung up in the fringe and ended up way short, forcing a long par putt that she was unable to make. Miyazato again closed to within one by winning 14, but Lee took 15 and closed out the match by halving 16 and 17.
The last two rounds continued the close-match trend that started Saturday. Of the final 15 matches only one failed to play the 16th (Hjorth over Francella 4&3 in the quarters). Lee is the highest seeded player to win this event (#22) and the first winner to come from the top half of seeds (1-32). After losing in the second round of this event last year, Lee has now played exceptionally well in her last two match-play competitions – at the Lexus Cup back in December, she won all three of her matches for the victorious Team Asia.
Although I’m sure CBS would have preferred a couple of Americans in the final, they really wound up with a good match. Two of the best of last year’s historic rookie class with very similar skill sets showing off their smooth swings and putting strokes.