Eun-Hee Ji wins LPGA Match-Play, gets US Women’s Open spot

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LAS VEGAS — Eun-Hee Ji won the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play on Sunday for a spot next week in the U.S. Women’s Open, beating Ayaka Furue 3 and 2 in cooler conditions at Shadow Creek.

Ji, the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open winner at Saucon Valley, took the last spot at Pine Needles with her sixth LPGA Tour victory and first since 2019.

At 36, Ji became the oldest South Korean winner in LPGA Tour history. Ranked 83rd in the world, she was seeded 36th in the 64-player field.

Furue is winless on the LPGA Tour. Ranked 27th, the 22-year-old Japanese player was seeded 10th.

The temperature was in the high 80s Sunday after 100-degree heat the first three days and temperatures in the mid-90s Saturday. After a breezy morning for the semifinals, it was mostly calm in the afternoon.

Both players struggled early, combining for three par wins and three bogey halves on the first seven holes.

After making bogeys on the first two par 5s to fall a hole behind, Ji birdied the par-3 eighth to tie it. She holed out from 97 yards for eagle on the par-5 ninth and won the par-4 10th with a par for a 2-up lead.

Furue took the par-4 11th with her lone birdie of the match, and Ji countered with a par win on the par-4 12th. They halved the next three holes, and Ji ended it with a par win on the par-5 16th — holing a 10-footer before Furue missed her par try.

In the windy morning semifinals, Ji beat Andrea Lee 4 and 3, and Furue edged Lilia Vu 2 and 1. Vu beat Lee 4 and 2 in the third-place match.

Ji opened group play Wednesday with a 4-and-2 victory over 29th-seeded Pajaree Anannarukarn, beat fourth-seeded Danielle Kang 2 and 1 on Thursday and tied 61st-seeded Kelly Tan on Friday to win the group. On Saturday, Ji beat 20th-seeded Hye-Jin Choi 2 and 1 in the round of 16 and routed 12th-seeded Madelene Sagstrom 7 and 6 in the quarterfinals.

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