Gladstone, NJ (MAY 20, 2012) – Azahara Munoz won the 2012 Sybase Match Play Championship after defeating Candie Kung 2&1 in a back-and-forth match in the final round at Hamilton Farm Golf Club.
“We congratulate Azahara Munoz on her outstanding play over six exhilarating matches,” said John Chen, Chairman, CEO and President of Sybase. “It’s great that she becomes a Rolex First-Time Winner at our tournament, a memory both Aza and Sybase will cherish. We would also like to recognize Candie Kung for advancing to the finals by eliminating some of the top competitors in the field. We love the excitement the Sybase Match Play Championship brings to the LPGA Tour, and this was a beautiful week for great golf.”
With the victory, the 24-year-old Spaniard becomes a Rolex First Time Winner on the LPGA Tour and adds $375,000 to her career earnings. After turning professional in September 2009, Munoz became the first Spaniard to win the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year in 2010, and finished in the top-10 three times in 2011. Munoz is also a member of the Spanish National Team.
“The golf course is unbelievable and the maintenance guys have done an amazing job,” said 19th-seeded Munoz. “The weather’s been perfect, the crowd is amazing here, and everything about Hamilton Farm is great – the food, the volunteers, so we all love coming here.”
Over the four-day tournament, Munoz faced a tough road to the finals, taking down Lindsey Wright (4&3), Hall of Famer Karrie Webb (2&1), Jodi Ewart (3&1) and Stacy Lewis (5&4). In the semifinals, Munoz defeated good friend Morgan Pressel (2&1).
It wasn't an easy day for Munoz who mentioned, "it's been ‑‑ you know, none of us play our best, but we didn't make many mistakes. I feel at the end hole, 16 was kind of weird. She got really unlucky on the ball bounce way left, so I got a good break there. But other than that, I started pretty slow and then made really good birdies on 11, on 13, so that kind of got me going."
There were two incidents which cast a pall over the event. The first was a slow-play, loss-of-play ruling against Morgan Pressel. Pressel then turned the tables by calling a violation (unsupported) on Munoz for allegedly touching her putting line with her golf club.
All ended politely for the two ladies as Munoz stated, "We are really good friends. I guess what happens on the course stays on the course.”
As the 49th seed, Kung’s route to the finals wasn’t any easier. After facing Catriona Matthew (3&1) in the round of 64, she defeated Haeji Kang (3&2), No. 1 Ranked Yani Tseng (3&1), Julieta Granada (2&1) and Vicky Hurst (2&1) before losing to Munoz in the final. Every player Kung faced was seeded higher than her. For her second place finish, Kung earns $225,000.
Morgan Pressel finished third, earning $150,000 by defeating fellow American Vicky Hurst in the consolation match, 2&1. Hurst banked $112,500 for her fourth place finish.
Through their finishes, Kung, Pressel and Hurst qualified for the year-ending CME Group Titleholders. Munoz punched her ticket through finishing tied for second at the LPGA LOTTE Championship.
Photo credit: Sina.com