Ayaka Furue (JPN), who was denied a title last year by Ji-Hee Ji (37-Hanwha Q CELLS), has reached the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour’s Bank of Hope Match Play ($1.5 million purse).
Furue held a two-shot lead over Celine Boutier (FRA) going into the 17th hole in the quarterfinals of the tournament at Shadow Creek Golf Club (Par 72, 6804 yards) in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on Monday (Aug. 28).
Furue won her first LPGA Tour victory last July at the Scottish Open. She has eight career wins on the Japan Ladies Professional Golf (JLPGA) Tour.
Furue, who had to settle for runner-up honors in the final of this tournament last year after losing to Ji-hee Lee, continued her strong play this time around. She went undefeated in her three group matches and won both the round of 16 and quarterfinals to earn a chance to win the title after a year away.
After defeating Maya Stark (SWE) 스포츠토토 by two holes in her previous round of 16 match, she struggled against Boutier.
Down by one through the 13th (par-3), she took a breath of fresh air at the 14th (par-4) to even things up. From there, she pulled away and birdied the 16th and 17th to secure a thrilling come-from-behind victory and a spot in the quarterfinals.
Furue will face Riona Maguire (IRL), who is also unbeaten in five matches at the event.
Maguire, who recorded her first LPGA Tour victory at the Drive-On Championship last February, has been in dominant form this year, making it through the group stage, round of 16 and quarterfinals.
She defeated Perrine Delacour (FRA) by five shots in the round of 16 and Lindsey Weaver Wright (USA) by three shots in the quarterfinals to reach the final four.
In the other semifinal, Pajari Annanarukarn (THA) and Lynn Grant (SWE) met.
Ananarukarn, who reached the round of 16 in the group stage in straight sets, defeated Cheyenne Knight (USA) and Carlota Zimda (Spain) to reach the last four.
She is now 2-0 on the LPGA Tour. Grant will be looking for her first win on the tour.
Meanwhile, South Korea had eight players entered in the tournament, including last year’s winner, Ji Hee Lee, but none of them made it to the round of 16.