Ji, Furue book LPGA Match-Play title showdown


South Korean Ji Eun-hee pulled away late to beat American Andrea Lee 4&3 on Sunday to line up a title clash with Japan’s Ayaka Furue at the LPGA Match-Play in Las Vegas.

Ji, who is vying for a win that would give her the last berth in next week’s US Women’s Open, said gusty winds made Shadow Creek a tough proposition that required plenty of patience.

“It’s a totally different golf course than yesterday,” Ji said. “I tried to make sure and hit it middle of the green, middle of the fairway.”

Ji emerged from a nip-and-tuck front nine with a 1-up lead after Lee three-putted the ninth.

She went 2-up at the 13th and won 14 and 15 with pars.

“Making up and down (for par) is almost making birdie, feels like birdie,” Ji said.

She was glad to have a few minutes of extra rest before heading out for the final against Furue, who beat American Lilia Vu 2&1 in their morning semi-final.

Furue handed Vu her first defeat of the week. She was the only player to come through three round-robin matches, the round of 16 and quarter-finals with a perfect record.

Furue led most of the match, but Vu made some gritty late par saves to prevent her from closing it out early.

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“I felt a lot of pressure, but was luckily able to hold her off,” Furue said.

After Vu took a 1-up lead with a birdie at the second, Furue won the next three holes to stand 2-up through five.

She was 3-up through 11 after Vu dropped the 11th hole with a bogey, but Vu cut the deficit with a long birdie putt to win the 12th.

They halved the 13th with bogeys, Furue finally closing out the victory at the 17th.

Furue said the 61 holes she had played to reach the final would stand her in good stead in the afternoon’s title match.

“I know a lot of places where to hit the ball and where not to hit the ball,” she said.

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