Sun Young Yoo defeated two top 10 seeds on Sunday (and five straight top 12 seeds over three days) to win the Sybase Match Play Championship. It is the first career victory for the 23-year-old from South Korea. Yoo defeated #1 seed Jiyai Shin 2&1 in her morning semi-final and #10 seed Angela Stanford 3&1 in the final.
In the first semi-final, Stanford took a 3-up lead over Amy Yang with a birdie at 10. Yang birdied 11 to draw one closer but remained 2-down through 15. Amy birdied 16 and 18 to square the match. On the 19th hole, Angela birdied to win. The other semi featured Yoo jumping out to a 3-up lead through 8. Sun Young bogeyed 10 to surrender one but Jiyai gave it back with bogey at 11. A Shin birdie at 12 closed the gap to two but she could only halve the remaining holes and fell 2&1. In the consolation match, Yang missed a five-footer for par at 15 that sent Shin 3-up with three to go. At 16, Shin had two putts from 25 feet to win. She lagged to two feet, inducing Yang to concede the match 3&2.
In the final, Yoo took the lead when she salvaged a lengthy par putt at 3 while Stanford bogeyed. The next seven holes were halved. At the par-5 11th, Sun Young spun her third shot off the front of the green while Angela played hers perfectly to two feet. The birdie squared the match and another birdie at 12 (downhill from 10 feet) gave Stanford her first lead. It was short-lived. Angela’s approach at 13 went through the green. After taking a free drop from casual water, her chip was too short and rolled back off the green. Yoo two-putted from 25 feet to go All Square. Stanford couldn’t get up-and-down from a greenside bunker (missed 10-foot par putt) at 14. Yoo two-putted from 15 feet to retake the lead.
Both players missed the green at 15. Stanford chipped to five feet but Yoo’s chip nearly went in, lipping out to two feet. Angela dropped her par putt to stay within one. At the par-3 16th, Yoo played a fine shot to eight feet. With the pressure on, Stanford played right at the flag – her ball took one hop and banged the pin, unluckily rolling about 15 feet away. Angela’s birdie putt stayed right all the way and Sun Young rolled hers home, going 2-up with only two to play. At 17, Stanford’s approach landed just short of the green. Yoo landed hers within four feet, virtually slamming the door shut. Needing a chip-in to have any chance, Stanford missed to the right and conceded the hole and match.
It figures that since Sports Medic called me out on not picking any Koreans to make the final eight, the winner would be of that nationality. I don’t feel too bad about being wrong about Yoo, though – only three contestants in the PakPicker at Seoulsisters.com had her anywhere in the final 16. Congrats to SteveNF on picking her as high as second, and Congratulations SYY!