GLADSTONE, N.J. -- Juli Inkster may be inching up on the big 5-0 (she celebrates her birthday on June 24), but she still has enough game to outlast the third-ranked player in the world. Norway's Suzann Pettersen started out strong in the pair's first-round match in the inaugural Sybase Match Play at Hamilton Farms GC, going 2-up on Inkster after two holes and never trailed in the match. But after coming in to 18 1-up, Pettersen opted to lay up on the reachable par 5 while Inkster went for it. A chip and a 10-foot birdie putt later, Inkster had squared the match and ended up winning with another birdie on the third extra hole.
"I'm not sure why she didn't go for it," Inkster said after the match was over. "This golf course really favors bombers like Suzanne because they can reach the par 5s in two."
Surely, Pettersen is wondering the same thing right now.
Another top-seeded bomber who failed to take advantage of the setup on Thursday was sixth-ranked Anna Nordqvist of Sweden. She fell 2-down to 48th-seed Shi Hyun Ahn. Her countrywoman Sophie Gustafson faired better: she made mince meat of both the course and her opponent Na On Min, winning 5&4. "At least my golf game is working right now," said the recently divorced Gustafson.
Other notable morning winners include Morgan Pressel, who beat Jimin Kang in 20 holes; Catriona Matthew, who beat Grace Park 1-up; Ai Miyazato, who beat Jeong Jang 4&3; and Karrie Webb, who beat Eunjung Yi 4&3.