Michelle Wie West withdraws from LPGA Match Play
Michelle Wie West withdrew from this week's Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play at Shadow Creek Golf Club in Las Vegas, the LPGA confirmed, only days after accepting a sponsor's invitation.
By doing so, Wie West will have an additional week to prepare for the U.S. Women's Open at The Olympic Club in her adopted hometown of San Francisco. Since returning to the LPGA Tour earlier this season for the first time since the 2019 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, the five-time LPGA winner has made three starts and will be looking for her first made cut of the season.
Those starts aren't without positives for the 2014 U.S. Women's Open champion. She had a throwback performance in the opening round of the ANA Inspiration, shooting a two-under-par 70 in the first round, sitting T-16. She hadn't fully recaptured the magic, posting a second-round 79 to miss the weekend.
After Wie West withdrew from the LPGA Match Play, MGM Resorts offered their second sponsor invite to Natalie Gulbis. Gulbis is in her 20th season as a professional. The 2007 Evian Ladies Masters winner is making her 2021 debut with the sponsor's invite.
Gulbis' last start was at the 2020 CME Group Tour Championship off a sponsor's invite, where she controversially received one of two invites over the World No. 1 Jin Young Ko and AIG Women's Open winner Sophia Popov. Ko played her way into the tour finale with a T-2 finish at the U.S. Women's Open before winning the tour championship, along with the money title, in four starts. Gulbis finished in 72nd place at Tiburón Golf Club at 24 over par.
The Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play starts on Wednesday and runs through Sunday. It follows a similar format to the WGC-Dell Match Play, where the field will be broken into 16 four-woman pods with round-robin play. A winner from each pod then plays in a knock-out bracket over the weekend to determine a winner.