May 27, 2022 - 7:35 pm
Updated May 27, 2022 - 8:20 pm
Minjee Lee came into the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play as the hottest player on tour, coming off a win in New Jersey and leading the season-long points race.
Tiffany Chan got in on a sponsor’s invitation, having lost her playing card with a year of poor play in 2021.
Only one of them will be around for the weekend, and it’s not the overall top seed.
Chan completed an unlikely 3-0 run through her pod Friday with a 2-up win over Amy Olson. She’ll move on to the round of 16, where she’ll face Jodi Ewart Shadoff, another player undefeated in the early rounds.
“It’s a small field, and sometimes you just need a chance. You just need that one chance to really try to play your best,” said Chan of her invite.
Chan and Jenny Shin are the two Las Vegas players still in the field, and their bond is tight. Chan actually lived with Shin when she first moved to Las Vegas two years ago.
When Emma Dryburgh went to dinner Tuesday night, she wasn’t in the field. But at 9 p.m. she got a text from the tour saying Anna Nordqvist had withdrawn and she, as first alternate, was in. Now she finds herself in the round of 16.
Dryburgh beat Gabby Lopez 2 and 1 on Friday, then beat her again in a playoff after they both finished their pod with 2-1 records.
Dryburgh played a practice round Sunday at Shadow Creek, but since she wasn’t in the field, she didn’t play in either pro-am on Monday or Tuesday. Her Wednesday match, a loss to Cheyenne Knight, was a blur.
But starting Thursday, she found her groove, beat Chella Choi, then toppled Lopez on Friday.
“I had no expectations, to be honest,” she said of how she might play. “I think anything was a bonus, to be honest. Getting into the event, I really wasn’t expecting it, so have to thank Anna Nordqvist for that.”
Under the radar
Paula Reto has been kicking around the LPGA Tour for nine years and has just five top-10 finishes to show for it. But after a perfect three days at Shadow Creek, Reto has moved on to the round of 16.
While it might be surprising to some, don’t count Reto in that group. She’s made every cut this season and is thriving in a format she loves.
“I am one to just not give up. I have a lot of, how can I say, enthusiasm to play well and I want to play well,” she said. ” So I’m going to keep trying, keep fighting, and especially like if I have few holes left I’m going to grind.
”I’m just not going to give up.”
Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com.