June 21, 2018
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Defending champ Pettersen eliminated at Sybase Match Play

The Associated Press

GLADSTONE, N.J. — Defending champion Suzann Pettersen didn’t last long at the Sybase Match Play Championship, and neither did three well-known Americans.

The third-ranked Pettersen was eliminated 3 and 1 by relative unknown Jodi Ewart of England on Thursday in the first round of the LPGA Tour event, while Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome and Michelle Wie lost to some equally obscure fellow Americans.

Creamer, the No. 8 seed, was beaten 2 and 1 by Jennifer Johnson, the No. 57 seed. No. 9 seed Lincicome was ousted 2 and 1 by No. 56 Ryann O’Toole. The 20th-seeded Wie was knocked out by No. 45 Mina Harigae, 3 and 2.

Yani Tseng, Na Yeon Choi and Cristie Kerr, the world’s Nos. 1, 2 and 5 players, barely advanced to the second round, while the day ended with No. 4 ranked Ai Miyazato being surprised 2-up by Mariajo Uribe in the final match at Hamilton Farm Golf Club.

Tseng escaped with a 1-up win after Jeong Jang missed a 6-foot birdie attempt to force a playoff. Choi was all square with fellow South Korean Grace Park after 16 holes, but she birdied the final two for a 2-up win. Kerr, who lost in the final to Pettersen last year, edged Belen Mozo 2 and 1.

Natalie Gulbis staged the best comeback, rallying from 4-down with eight holes to play to beat Mika Miyazato. Gulbis made a 5-foot birdie putt at No. 18 to advance.

BYRON NELSON CHAMPIONSHIP: Ryan Palmer shot a bogey-free 6-under 64 to take the first-round lead in the Byron Nelson Championship, a year after losing a playoff to Keegan Bradley in the event in Irving, Texas.

Marc Leishman and Alex Cejka were a stroke back. Matt Kuchar, coming off a victory Sunday in The Players Championship last weekend, was two strokes back at 66 along with Scott Piercy, Charley Hoffman, Bill Lunde, Blake Adams, Dicky Pride and Andres Gonzales.

Last year, Palmer birdied the 72nd hole to force a playoff, then hit his approach on the first extra hole into the greenside water and lost to Bradley, who opened his title defense with a 67.

Phil Mickelson, back at the Nelson for the first time in five years, shot a 70.

VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP: Three days after his flight to Spain made an emergency landing because a passenger had a heart attack, American Brandt Snedeker used borrowed irons and a putter from the pro shop to win his opener in the World Match Play Championship in Casares, Spain.

Because his luggage got lost, Snedeker also used a driver lent to him by Australian rival John Senden. Starting out with just 10 clubs in a replacement bag, Snedeker managed to beat Thomas Bjorn 5 and 4.

By the time his clubs arrived at the Finca Cortesin course from Malaga Airport — allowing him to fill his bag to the maximum 14 — Snedeker was 3 up after three holes. Playing well with his pro shop putter and Senden’s backup driver, he stayed with them despite having his clubs.

Ian Poulter started his title defense by beating Senden 3 and 2. Justin Rose routed Robert Rock 7 and 6 in an all-English contest. Martin Kaymer, at No 9 the highest-ranked player in the field, lost 3 and 2 to Rafael Cabrero-Bello.

After round-robin play in eight three-man groups, the top two in each group will advance to the round of 16.

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