No. 6 Lewis avoids rash of LPGA upsets

Stacy Lewis reacts to her putt on the sixth hole during her victory against Sandra Gal at the LPGA Sybase Match Play Championship in Gladstone on Friday. Lewis will play 11th-seeded Sun Young Yoo today in the round of 16.

GLADSTONE - With top seeds all around her losing in upsets, Stacy Lewis took the quickest route to victory in the second round of the Sybase LPGA Match Play Championship on Friday.

The No. 6 seed birdied the first three holes en route to a 4 and 3 win over No. 27 seed Sandra Gal at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Somerset County. Lewis will play 11th-seeded Sun Young Yoo in this morning's round of 16. The quarterfinals will be played this afternoon. Yoo won this event in 2010.

Lewis is the highest-ranked U.S. player left after fifth-seeded Cristie Kerr lost to 37th-seeded Vicky Hurst on the 19th hole Friday. Of the top 10 seeds, only four survived to play the weekend.

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"Match play is completely different (than stroke play)," Lewis said. "You have to take every match for what it is. You can't think about the (final) match on Sunday and winning the whole thing. As soon as you start thinking about your next match, I think you get in trouble."

The $1.5 million Sybase, which began Thursday with 64 players, is the first of two LPGA stops in New Jersey this spring.

The $1.5 million ShopRite LPGA Classic will be held on the Bay Course at Seaview Resort in Galloway Township from June 1-3. Nearly all of the golfers who played at Sybase also will tee it up at the ShopRite Classic.

In addition to Lewis, top-seeded Yani Tseng, No. 2 seed Na Yeon Choi, 10th-seeded Amy Yang and 2003 ShopRite winner Angela Stanford also won second-round matches Friday.

Strong from the start

Lewis, 27, who graduated in 2008 from the University of Arkansas with a degree in finance and accounting, is one of the LPGA's rising stars. She won the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in Alabama in April.

Lewis saw several LPGA standouts, including defending champion Suzann Pettersen, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie and 2011 ShopRite champion Brittany Lincicome, lose in Thursday's first round.

"It just shows what match play is," Lewis said of the upsets. "Anything could happen on any given day."

Lewis never gave Gal a chance to think about an upset. Lewis won the first four holes and maintained at least a two-hole lead in the match.

Lewis sank an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 1. She made a 35-foot birdie putt on the par-3 third hole.

Sybase is the LPGA's only match-play tournament. Lewis did compete for the U.S. against Europe in the Solheim Cup in Ireland last year. The Solheim Cup is similar to the men's Ryder Cup and includes a match-play format.

Lewis struggled in the Solheim Cup, going just 1-3, but she learned from the experience.

"I was really hard on myself at Solheim," Lewis said. "The person you're playing is going to make great shots, they're going to make putts. All you can do is control what you're doing and that's what I've been trying to do this week."

No. 62 seed wins

Jodi Ewart, the No. 62 seed, continued her improbable success. Ewart beat 30th-seeded Sophie Gustafson 3 and 1 in the second round. Ewart had upset No. 3 seed Pettersen 3 up Thursday.

Ewart will face 19th-seeded Azahara Munoz of Spain in today's quarterfinals. Munoz defeated Hall of Famer and No. 14 seed Karrie Webb 2 and 1 Friday.

Ewart, an England native, is the lowest-seeded player remaining.

"I'm striking the ball really well," she said, "and lot more putts dropped (Friday) than Thursday. I just have a lot of confidence in my game right now."

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