ALPG team struggle while Japan dominate opening day of The Queens Presented by Kowa
The ALPG team struggled today in the bitterly cold conditions in the fourball matches at the Queens Cup presented by Kowa. The temperature at Miyoshi Country Club hovered around the 5°C mark for most of the day, with the north wind making it feel considerably colder.
The first match out for the ALPG was always going to be a tough match with Katherine Kirk and Nikki Garrett drawn against the tough Korean pairing of In Gee Chun and Yoon Ji Cho. The aussie duo lost the opening 2 holes, and despite fighting and matching the Korean pair for much of the day ended up losing on the 15th hole by a margin of 4/3. For Garrett it was her first competitive event since February, in August she gave birth to son Nixon and admits that playing competitively so soon was tougher than she had envisaged.
The highly fancied ALPG team of Sarah Kemp and Sarah Jane Smith found themselves 4 down after five holes against the European Duo of Hannah Burke and Emily Pederson. A couple early bogies from the aussies meant that they were under pressure early, and despite fighting hard the duo also went down by a margin of 4/3. Smith said ‘we got off to a poor start and just couldn’t get back into the match. Every time we thought we would get a hole back they would hole a long putt or a chip. Tomorrow is another day and we are really overdue to make some putts”
In the third match ALPG captain Rachel Hetherington was paired with West Australian Whitney Hillier, who was hoping for a belated 25th birthday present following her birthday on Tuesday. It was not to be however, the duo had a frustrating day on the greens and also went down to the Japanese pair of Ritsuko Ryu and Miki Sakai 4/3. Hillier was upbeat despite the loss. “The course was playing so long and tough today, it was so tough to make birdies and in fourball that’s what you need to do. We were so close to playing really well today and will give it 100% again tomorrow.”
Lindsey Wright and Stephanie Na had possibly the toughest assignment of the day, taking on the Japanese Captain Momoko Ueda and compatriot Erina Hara in front of a vocal Japanese home crowd. Wright and Na played solid golf only to find themselves 3 down at the turn and a couple of late bogeys meant that they lost the match 6/5. Wright, though disappointed with the score felt that there were many positive to take into the final two days. “I thought both Steph and I played pretty well today, but the Japanese girls were just too good, they played outstanding golf in these conditions”
ALPG Captain Rachel Hetherington said that most of the ALPG team felt fairly happy with the way they played today “We can only get better. I think all the girls actually played pretty solid. A few of us haven’t played competitive golf for a little while so were a little out of sorts. We will definitely improve in every match from now on.”
“We have a lot of diversity in our team I guess. There are two new mums, I’m a mum to a four year old as well, so we probably have the most mums of the four teams!. Some of us haven’t played competitively for a little while and some of us play in the States, where their season finished in September, so we’re just warming up really. We’ve got nine singles matches as well on Sunday and foursomes which is different tomorrow.”
The team from the LPGA of Japan won all four of their matches to take a 5 point lead over the team from Korean LPGA Tour, with the Ladies European team a further 3 points back heading into Friday’s foursomes matches.
Friday Fourball Results:
Ayaka Watanabe and Erika Kikuchi (JLPGA) beat Laura Davies and Melissa Reid (LET) 6 and 4
In Gee Chun and Yoon Ji Cho (KLPGA) beat Katherine Kirk and Nikki Garrett (ALPG) 4 and 3
Hannah Burke and Emily Kristine Pedersen (LET) beat Sarah Kemp/ Sarah Jane Smith (ALPG) 4 and 3
Shiho Oyama and Misuzu Narita (JLPGA) beat Seon Woo Bae and Jin Young Ko (KLPGA) 2 and 1.
Ritsuko Ryu and Miki Sakai (JLPGA) beat Rachel Hetherington and Whitney Hillier (ALPG) 4 and 3.
Jung Min Lee and Min Sun Kim (KLPGA) beat Gwladys Nocera and Marianne Skarpnord (LET) 1 up
Momoko Ueda and Erina Hara (JLPGA) beat Lindsey Wright and Stephanie Na (ALPG) 6 and 5
Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher (LET) halved with Sung Hyun Park and Bo-Mee Lee (KLPGA)
(3 points are awarded for a win and 1 point to each team for a halved match)