Team Australia bounced back on day two of the 2016 UL International Crown after being shut out by Chinese Taipei on the opening day.
The twenty-year-old duo of Minjee Lee and Su Oh were paired together in the opening match and were up against the Chinese number 1 pairing of Shanshan Feng and Xi Yu Lin. The “dynamic duo” were clearly very comfortable in each other’s company, they played a lot of golf together as amateurs and represented Australia together on several occasions including their victory at the 2014 Espirito Santo Trophy.
The match was of the highest quality, the Chinese pair went from being one down after 9 holes to 2 up through 12 holes after birdies from Feng at 10 and 11, and another from Lin at the 13th. The Australians fought back courtesy of a birdie from Oh at the 13th, however another birdie from Lin at the par 3 14th saw the Australians 2 down with just 4 holes to play.
With their backs well and truly to the wall the youngsters showed their mental toughness, Oh holed from 15 feet for yet another birdie on the 15th to get back to 1 down, all four players made birdie on the par 5 16th hole and the 17th was halved in pars.
Heading to the 18th hole knowing that one of them needed to birdie to have any chance of halving the match, Lee and Oh answered the call, both driving superbly and hitting their approach shots to 3 metres.
Feng had a chance to close out the match but her putt from 5 metres missed narrowly, leaving the ball in the Australian’s court. Lee was to putt first, and having missed countless opportunities her patience was finally rewarded as she calmly rolled in the putt which would ensure that in their third round match against the might of The Republic of Korea Australia would have control of its destiny.
In the second match Rebecca Artis fulfilled a lifelong dream of playing for her country alongside her idol Karrie Webb, they faced the Chinese youngsters Jing Yan and Simin Feng who pulled off a surprise victory in the opening round against the number one team from The Republic of Korea.
The two Australians looked relaxed and completely at ease in each other’s company from the moment they were cheered onto the first tee to the sound of Men at Work’s Land Down Under. Artis confidently holed from 3 metres for a half on the first hole, and the pair never looked back taking the lead with a birdie from Webb at the par 5 third hole. There was a slight stumble when the pair lost the 12th hole to a par to find themselves just 1 up, however an impressive birdie at the par 3 14th hole from the Hall of Famer saw the pair 2 up with just 4 holes left to play. The Australian's made no mistakes coming in and would eventually close out the match on the 17th green 2&1.
The result means that Australia now sits third in group A on 3 points, with a berth in the final round on Sunday now completely in their own hands. Victory in both matches against Korea would see them progress to the final round, there are several other permutations but three points in total against the number one seeds is the minimum required for Australia to progress to Sunday.
The matches in general so far have been extremely close, heading into tomorrow’s third round it is still mathematically possible for each of the eight teams competing to qualify for Sunday's final round.
For results and scores of the UL International Crown go to www.lpgascoring.com
Day 3 will be shown live on Fox Sports channel 1 from 5:00am on Sunday morning
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