Fatigued Ewing Outlasts Fading Popov For The Win
American Ally Ewing earned her second LPGA Tour win at the LPGA Match-play championship, outlasting former major winner Sophia Popov to take the final 2&1 at the Shadow Creek course in Las Vegas.
The 28-year-old Ewing won the Sunday afternoon showdown after a marathon day of golf in which she also beat Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn 3&2 in the semis.
Ewing won despite needing two tee shots on 17 after her first shot landed short of the green in the water. Taking a penalty, her second tee shot again ended up short, this time into the front bunker. But the American managed to regroup from there and win after Popov had an even bigger collapse on the hole. “I felt like I was limping in,” said Ewing. “I got fatigued out there.”
Following her triumph at the Drive On Championship last October, Ewing emerged victorious despite being the lone golfer in the semis that hadn’t won a major championship.
Former Women’s British Open winner Popov also found the front bunker off the tee on 17. Hitting the ball over the green on her second shot, she then chipped 20 feet past the cup on her third which left her with no chance of winning the hole and going into 18 all tied.
Blaming her collapse on fatigue from too much golf, “I am just a little sad I couldn’t play my best this afternoon,” said Popov, who won the 2020 Women’s British Open in August for her first win. “I was right there. If I had close to the game I had the last four days I could have won. For both of us it wasn’t our best performance.”
Both Popov and Ewing advanced with impressive semi-final triumphs earlier on Sunday.
Ewing, ranked 30th, defeated 23rd-ranked Ariya, while Popov, ranked 21st, edged China’s 28th-ranked Feng Shanshan 1-up in the other.
Feng was scheduled to play her consolation match later Sunday but decided to concede, citing a need to rest for the upcoming US Open, giving up more than $23,000 in the process.
Feng was one of four who made it to Sunday’s final day, but when she lost her morning semi-finals match to Popov, she elected not to stick around for her consolation match against Ariya.
“Next week is the US Women’s Open,” Feng said. “I just want to be well-rested and protect myself.”