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Kang beats Salas in friendly showdown at Shadow Creek


NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) — Danielle Kang had Lizette Salas over to the home Thursday evening to look at “Friends: The Reunion,” then despatched her packing Friday in the LPGA Match Play.

Kang received the friendly showdown 4 and three for a quarterfinal spot on one other scorching afternoon at Shadow Creek.

“To be honest with you, it doesn’t feel that great,” Kang stated. “I really wanted to win. I wanted to advance and play this weekend. … But all in all, any time she missed a putt my heart just dropped because I want her to make them. I know she’s playing against me and it was definitely different. I knew this was going to be very stressful for me.”

An ambassador for course proprietor MGM Resorts, Kang received the opening gap with a par, took Nos. 6 and seven with birdies and No. 8 with a par for a 4-up lead. Salas received 10 and 11 with pars, Kang took 12 with a birdie and ended it with a par on 14.

“I made some really great putts today,” Kang stated. “I had some crazy putts go in.”

U.S. Solheim Cup teammate Salas was coming off her finest end of the yr, a tie for fifth final week in the Pure Silk Championship in Virginia.

“She’s my teammate and always has my back and I’ve got hers,” Kang stated. “I can’t wait to play with her as a teammate again.”

Kang will face Bronte Law, a 6 and 5 winner over Annie Park.

Second-ranked Inbee Park, additionally an space resident, beat Gaby Lopez 2 and 1 to arrange a match with Sophia Popov.

“Every day is getting a little bit better with the game,” Park stated. “And making little more birdies every day, so I feel like my game is coming along. It feels good to move on and play the weekend.”

Popov routed Sung Hyun Park 6 and 5.

“I think that’s the first goal, to make it out of the group phase, make it to the weekend,” Popov said. “I took care of business in that way.”

Top-ranked Jin Young Ko and No. 3 Sei Young Kim dropped out in playoffs.

Anna Nordqvist beat Ko 5 and 4 to force a playoff with Ko that the Swede won on the first hole. Kim edged Brittany Altomare 2 and 1 to force a playoff with the American, then fell on the second hole.

ANA Inspiration winner Patty Tavatanakit beat Stacy Lewis 5 and 4 to advance. After Lewis birdied the ninth to drag inside a gap, Tavatanakit received 4 of the subsequent 5 to finish the match. They entered the day tied for the group lead.

“It’s a great feeling walking off the course today only playing 14 holes,” Tavatanakit stated. “Long weekend ahead, so a lot of positives here. … Just keep making pars. This course is such a beast that if you make par eventually you’ll get your point.”

Ariya Jutanugarn beat Sarah Schmelzel on the primary gap of a playoff after tying Carlota Ciganda.

While some prime U.S. gamers skipped the first-year occasion to organize for the U.S. Women’s Open subsequent week at Olympic in San Francisco, Kang stated she is not trying forward.

“Crazy as it sounds, I’m not thinking about next week at all,” Kang stated. “I been really looking forward to this week since it was announced. … It’s just been really exciting to play at a home golf course. I’ve never done that.”

Kang received in consecutive weeks final summer time in Ohio in the LPGA Tour’s return from the coronavirus pandemic. She has 5 tour victories — the primary in 2017 in the key KPMG Women’s PGA Championship — and confirmed her match-play prowess in U.S. Women’s Amateur wins in 2010 and 2011.

“I just really like being able to focus on one person,” Kang stated. “I know that a lot of times when we play stroke play we have to play to the field, which means you have to focus on your game and do what you need to do and see where you end up. Here, I just have to beat one person and they’re right in front of me. It’s easier to be aggressive and attack and do what I need to do.”

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