Top-seeded Lilia Vu cruised to a 4-and-3 victory over U.S. countrywoman Lauren Hartlage as group play began in the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Vu, who is ranked fourth in the world, was level with Hartlage through 11 holes before winning each of the next four holes at Shadow Creek Golf Course to seal the win in Group 1.
Second-seeded Brooke M. Henderson of Canada, the world’s eighth-ranked player, posted a 3-and-2 win over South Korea’s Yaeeun Hong in Group 2.
The 64-player field is divided into 16 groups that are competing in round-robin play through Friday. The winner of each group will advance to single-elimination play.
Eight matches will be played Saturday morning, followed by four quarterfinal matches in the afternoon. The semifinals and championship match will be contested on Sunday.
Vu shrugged off the significance of her seeding.
“I feel like that’s pretty circumstantial,” she said. “I feel like No. 1 seed for me didn’t really matter. … I have nothing to lose and so does Lauren. I’m just going to go out there and try my best.”
Vu is trying to top her third-place result in the event last year.
“I feel like I’m physically more fit this year anyway,” she said. “My training on the road and now I have a private physio, so should be good to go. I feel like last year was just a great year for me to figure out what I needed and then we squared that away really quick.”
Defending champion Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea opened with a 3-and-2 win over Finland’s Matilda Castren in Group 8. The United States’ Ally Ewing, who won the event in its first edition two years ago, produced a 3-and-2 victory over Germany’s Esther Henseleit.
Other first-day winners included Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela in Group 1, France’s Celine Boutier and South Africa’s Paula Reto in Group 3, Australia’s Karis Davidson and Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn in Group 4, China’s Muni He in Group 5, Japan’s Ayaka Furue and the United States’ Stacy Lewis in Group 6 and Ireland’s Leona Maguire and South Korea’s Jenny Shin in Group 7.
Also posting victories were Ecuador’s Daniela Darquea and the United States’ Marina Alex in Group 9, the United States’ Caroline Inglis and France’s Perrine Delacour in Group 10, Sweden’s Maja Stark and China’s Yu Liu in Group 11, Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum in Group 12, Taiwan’s Peiyun Chien and the United States’ Cheyenne Knight in Group 13, the United States’ Angel Yin in Group 14, the United States’ Lindsey Weaver-Wright and Sweden’s Frida Kinhult in Group 15 and Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and the United States’ Lauren Coughlin in Group 16.