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Golf: Korea, Japan share third as Spain clinch International Crown

Choi Na-yeon pounces on playing partner Kim In-kyung during their 1-up win over Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmlid on Friday. Photos: AFP.

Choi Na-yeon (right) pounces on playing partner Kim In-kyung during their 1-up win over Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmlid on Friday. Photos: AFP.

July 28, 2014: Japan and Korea shared third place at the inaugural International Crown team event in Maryland, USA, after being overwhelmed by a stunning final-day performance by Spain, who won all four of their singles matches.

 

Japan were the overall leaders heading into the final day after topping Group B with eight points following three days of round-robin fourball contests in two four-team groups. The top five teams qualified to contest Sunday’s singles contests, worth two points each.

 

Second-seeded Korea, who finished third in Group B with six points, only squeezed into the final day’s action with a playoff win over top-ranked USA, who had finished third in Group A with the same points total.

 

Thailand recorded a 4-0 win over Chinese Taipei on Friday on their way to topping Group A with seven points, level with Spain, who saved their best for last by adding eight points on a remarkable final day at Caves Valley Golf Club.

 

Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, Onnarin Sattayabanphot and Pornanong Phatlum celebrate Friday’s 4-0 win over Chinese Taipei.

Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, Onnarin Sattayabanphot and Pornanong Phatlum celebrate Friday’s 4-0 win over Chinese Taipei as Thailand went on to top Group A.

Carlota Ciganda crushed Korea’s Choi Na-yeon 8&6 before Beatriz Recari beat Sweden’s Mikaela Parmlid 3&2. Belen Mozo then won 3&2 against Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn, while Azahara Munoz clinched a 2&1 win over Japan captain Ai Miyazato as the close-knit quartet finished with 15 points, four ahead of Sweden.

 

Sweden won two of their four singles matches, while Korea also won four points to move to 10 points. World No. 3 Park In-bee beat Caroline Hedwall 4&2 in the day’s opening match before Thailand No. 1 Pornanong Phatlum beat Kim In-kyung 1-up in the day’s second match for her team’s only win on Sunday. Thailand finished fifth.

 

Ryu So-yeon later added two more points for Korea with a 1-up win over Japan’s Sakura Yokomine, while in the day’s penultimate match Mika Miyazato earned Japan’s only win with a 3&1 win over Thailand’s Onnarin Sattayabanphot, helping the third seeds join Korea on 10 points.

 

The formidable pairing of Park and Ryu won two of their three matches in the group stage and each won their singles contests, but Park admitted that the one-hole playoff win over USA’s Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson to reach the five-team final was arguably their most crucial win of the week.

 

Park In-bee (right) and Ryu So-yeon celebrate their playoff win over the USA’s Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson to qualify for Sunday’s singles.

Park In-bee (right) and Ryu So-yeon celebrate their playoff win over the USA’s Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson as Korea qualified for Sunday’s singles.

“I think it was huge because everybody expected us to go into the finals, but we actually did it the hard way. Actually, having a chance to go at it on the final day was huge. If we didn’t play the last day, I wondered what all the Korean fans would do. There were so many people who came out to watch us, so it was good to give them something to cheer for,” said Park, who has four major titles after winning the first three last year.

 

“I think it was a great atmosphere and it’s obviously a little bit different to the nerves that we’re usually playing with, because we never really got to play team events like this. It’s just country versus country, not just yourself, so it was something very new and special. I love this format and it was a lot of fun this week.”

 

Ryu, who won the 2011 US Women’s Open, said the event brought her closer to Park and her other teammates.

 

“It was just a fantastic week. I had a real blast. I played with In-bee three days in a row, so our combination was quite fantastic. I really enjoyed being with In-bee. Also I never played with Na-yeon and I.K., but I still feel we were totally great teammates. Especially before we were going to the playoff yesterday, I.K. and Na-yeon gave us a lot of advice and a lot of energy,” Ryu said.

“I’m really proud of my teammates and I’m really happy to have all the crowds cheering us, so I had a really great week. This is really on my bucket list. I really want to play in another International Crown in 2016.”

 

Japan captain Ai Miyazato in action in Sunday, when the third-day leaders won only one of four singles matches.

Japan captain Ai Miyazato in action in Sunday, when the third-day leaders won only one of four singles matches.

Ai Miyazato, who won 2½ out of three points playing with Yokomine in the group stage, conceded that Japan were disappointed not to build on their third-day lead as they lost three of their four singles matches.

 

“We tried our best, but it just didn’t happen. Obviously, it’s so disappointing and this is not what I expected for the results. Overall this week, we played really solid and the teamwork was like fantastic, so I’m so proud of my team and I’m really happy that I’m part of this team, too,” Miyazato said.

 

“It was just an amazing week. Representing my country is an amazing feeling and at the same time it’s so much pressure, but we like to play under the pressure and we know we can do it. It just didn’t happen. It wasn’t our week, but still we made 10 points, which is good for us and it will be good for the future.”

 

As well as hosts USA, Chinese Taipei and Australia missed out on the final day.

 

Source: LPGA (www.lpga.com); Editing by SportAsia

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