Koch, Park advance at Japan Match Play

NARITA, Japan, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Grace Park topped Japan's top player and Carin Koch also advanced to the semifinals Saturday as the World Ladies Match Play Championship headed into its final day.

Park, the LPGA's 12th seed, cruised to a 6 and 5 victory over Yuri Fudoh, and Koch defeated Michele Redman, 2 and 1, to highlight quarterfinal play.


The lone remaining golfer from the Japanese LPGA is surprising 14th seed Midori Yoneyama, who defeated Kelly Robbins, 4 and 3. Yoneyama earlier ousted LPGA third seed Mi Hyun Kim and Lorie Kane.

Yoneyama will face Hee-Won Han of the LPGA. Han easily downed Rosie Jones, 5 and 4.

Last year's final featured the world's best player in Annika Sorenstam, who won a thriller over Se Ri Pak. But Sorenstam, Pak and Kim all were ousted in upsets in the first round this time around.

Park had the easiest time in the quarterfinals as she was 1-up through five holes before winning the next three holes for a commanding lead. Park also won the 10th and 11th holes, and the match was over two holes later.


Fudoh, the top-ranked player from Japan, has won 20 career titles, including three this season. She had earned victories over Beth Bauer and Rachel Teske before her game deserted her against Park.

"Obviously, she's No. 1 in Japan," Park said. "Today just wasn't her day. She made some mistakes off the tee and missed a few six-, seven- or eight-footers today, but these greens are so slick that if you make one mistake, it can run away from you."

Koch and Redman hooked up in the day's closest match as Redman looked for revenge from a loss to the Swede in the Solheim Cup. The match was all square through 10 holes before Koch birdied 11 to take the lead. She closed the match out by chipping out of a bunker at No. 17 for a birdie.

Redman missed putts at Nos. 12 and 15, where she settled for halves. She got to 1-down by winning the 16th before Koch's clutch bunker shot.

Yoneyama moved ahead of Robbins for good at the sixth hole and won the 10th to go 2-up. Robbins three-putted for one of her four bogeys at No. 12 and lost the 13th as well to fall to 4-down and effectively end her chances.


Han never trailed against Jones and went 3-up after winning at No. 7 and 8. Jones got off to a bad start by bogeying the first two holes and watched Han come up with five birdies.

The final day of the championship is Sunday and the winner must survive 36 holes in the semifinals and final. That may be a disadvantage for Koch, who is four months pregnant.

Latest Headlines