Korean You’ve Never Heard of Upsets World’s Number One, Jiyai Shin; Stanford Outlasts Yang
By Stephanie Wei under General

The only American in the semifinals has survived to reach the finals of the Sybase Match Play Championship. Playing against 20-year-old Amy Yang, Angela Stanford, the number-ten seed, dominated the match, holding a 2-up advantage for most the day.

Yang battled back in the closing holes, winning two of the final four to force a playoff.

“I was getting frustrated because I had had so many opportunities to close the match out and I couldn’t get a putt to go in the hole,” Stanford explained. “I think that’s when it kind of turned. She hit it close on 16 and won that hole. And then I didn’t hit it close on 17, so I was frustrated before I ever got to [18].”

She finally closed out Yang on the first playoff hole, the par-3 16th, just missing her birdie putt to settle for a par. Yang missed a relatively short par putt (I believe, wasn’t close enough to see) to halve the hole and extend the match. Perhaps her nerves caught up to her — she confessed to the Golf Channel on Saturday that match play makes her skittish.

Meanwhile, Stanford changed her approach to match play this week.

“I stop worrying about everybody else,” the four-time LPGA winner said. “I’ll take care of my business, not worry about everyone else and try and make birdies. You’re not going to beat these girls with pars.”

Especially not those Koreans!

Stanford will meet the 28th-seeded Sun-Young Yoo in the finals this afternoon.

Yoo, who nobody really knows anything about (even LPGA officials, gasp!), upset the top-ranked player, Jiyai Shin. Too bad, I know. I would have loved to see Stanford and Shin duel it out.

On her way to the final match, she’s defeated Karen Stupples (34), Cristie Kerr (5), Yani Tseng (4), and finally, the “Final Round Queen,” Jiyai Shin.

Dominating from the start, Yoo won 2&1.

“My shots and my play was good,” Shin said graciously. “But Yoo, she was [much] better than me. She [had] perfect play. I tried to catch up, but it was not enough.”

Shin battled back after dropping to 3-down with six to play. Yoo missed a short par putt on the 16th to extend the match to another hole.

“I’m surprised she missed (with) her putter,” she admitted. “So I still had a chance on 17. I did my best.”

“I had a really good feeling. I’ve not played much match play. [So] there was more pressure this week. I still survive to Sunday, so it’s a good thing for me.”

With classy comments like that, it makes it more upsetting she lost.

Shin will meet Yang in the Consolation Match, which begins at 1:20PM. The Championship Match follows with Stanford and Yoo teeing off at 1:30PM. The Golf Channel’s coverage begins at 2PM. I’ll be the girl in the red jacket riding along in on-course commentator Jerry Foltz’s cart.