Photograph courtesy of LPGA
Red-hot tournament favourites Korea has set themselves up for a shot at a first-ever UL International Crown victory in Seoul this weekend, after winning both of their 4-ball matches on day 1 against their opponents from Chinese Taipei.
While they did win both of their matches it was far from being the dominating performance many had expected, with world number 1 Sung Hyun Park and her partner I.K. Kim being taken to the final green by the duo of Candy Kung and Phoebe Yao before winning 1 up, and the pair of former US Women's Open champions In Gee Chun and So Yeon Ryu also winning on the final green 2 up defeating Teresa Lu and Wei Ling Hsu.
Korea's win takes them to the top of "Pool A" with 4 points, followed by England with 3 points.
The Australian Team went down today to Team England and will feel hard done by after Minjee Lee and Sarah Jane Smith for most of the afternoon looked likely to ensure that Australia would come out of the day with 2 points, after leading the star English pairing of reigning Ricoh Women's British Open Champion Georgia Hall and European Solheim Cup star Charley Hull 3-up with just five holes to play.
The Australian duo had headed out in the first match of the day and quickly found themselves one down after a birdie from Hull at the opening hole, and it was Sarah Jane Smith who quickly found her form hitting some magnificent iron shots which resulted in 5 birdies in 9 holes to give the Australian pair a commanding 3up lead through 11 holes.
The 12th and 13th holes were halved keeping the margin intact, and at the drivable par 4 14th hole measuring 263 yards, Lee played a 3-wood from the tee just short of the green leaving a simple up and down for birdie, while Hall and Hull drove left of the green looking in grave danger of going 4-down with just four holes to play.
Georgia Hall though must never be underestimated and from what seemed an impossible position proceeded to chip in, giving the English pair a glimmer of hope as they headed to the 15th tee just 2-down.
The 15th hole was halved in pars leaving the Australians 2-up with three holes left to play, and when Minjee Lee hit her second shot to within three metres of the hole on the 16th the Australians again looked very much in control of the match. After leaving her long birdie putt short Hull bravely holed for par from just over a metre leaving Lee with centre stage with a putt to win the match. Lee couldn't convert, her putt missing right of the hole and the match was headed to the 17th hole.
Hull stood up and hit a superb tee shot at the 192-yard 17th hole to within three metres of the hole, her partner Hall also safely finding the green. Lee and Smith both missed the green, and after a disappointing bunker shot Smith holed bravely for a par from five metres leaving the English team needing a birdie to extend the match. Hull stood up and calmly rolled in her putt ensuring the match would go to the final hole.
The Australians both hit superb drives on the 18th hole keeping the pressure on the young English duo, however, it was Hall who showed nerves of steel taking a driver from the fairway for her second shot which finished just ten metres short of the putting surface. Hall proceeded to play a magnificent pitch to within gimme distance and had to watch on as first Smith, and then Lee missed birdie chances to win the match. It was a match of the highest quality but one the Australians will surely look back on as the one that got away.
In the second match, the Australian pairing of Su Oh and Katherine Kirk found themselves 2-down through nine holes to the English duo of Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and after Kirk missed a putt for birdie at the 12th hole from four metres to get back to 1-down could not get back into the match, eventually losing on the 15th green 4&3.
The Australian Team tomorrow take on the might of Korea, with Minjee Lee and Sarah Jane Smith playing against So Yeon Ryu and In Gee Chun, while Su Oh and Katherine Kirk take on Sung Hyun Park and I.K Kim.
Pool A – England vs. Australia
Charley Hull/Georgia Hall (ENG) halved with Minjee Lee/Sarah Jane Smith (AUS)
Bronte Law/Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG) d. Katherine Kirk/Su Oh (AUS), 4 and 3
Points – England, 3; Australia, 1
Pool B – Japan vs. Thailand
Nasa Hataoka/Ayako Uehara (JPN) halved with Moriya Jutanugarn/Pornanong Phatlum (THA)
Ariya Jutanugarn/Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (THA) def. Misuzu Narita/Mamiko Higa (JPN), 2 and 1
Points – Japan, 1; Thailand, 3
Pool B – United States vs. Sweden
Cristie Kerr/Lexi Thompson (USA) def. Pernilla Lindberg/Madelene Sagstrom (SWE), 2 up
Anna Nordqvist/Caroline Hedwall (SWE) def. Jessica Korda/Michelle Wie (USA), 2 up
Points – United States, 2; Sweden, 2
Pool A – Republic of Korea vs. Chinese Taipei
Sung Hyun Park/In-Kyung Kim (KOR) def. Candie Kung/Phoebe Yao (TPE), 1 up
In Gee Chun/So Yeon Ryu (KOR) def. Teresa Lu/Wei-Ling Hsu (TPE), 2 up
Points – Republic of Korea, 4; Chinese Taipei, 0
Scoreboard after Day 1
Korea 4 points
Australia 1 point
Chinese Taipei 0 points
Thailand 3 points
USA 2 points
Sweden 2 points
Japan 1 point
Pool B – Japan (JPN) vs. Sweden (SWE)
7:05 a.m. – Misuzu Narita/Mamiko Higa (JPN) vs. Anna Nordqvist/Caroline Hedwall (SWE)
7:20 a.m. – Ayako Uehara/Nasa Hataoka (JPN) vs. Pernilla Lindberg/Madelene Sagstrom (SWE)
Pool B – United States (USA) vs. Thailand (THA)
7:35 a.m. – Jessica Korda/Michelle Wie (USA) vs. Moriya Jutanugarn/Pornanong Phatlum (THA)
7:50 a.m. – Cristie Kerr/Lexi Thompson (USA) vs. Ariya Jutanugarn/Sherman Santiwiwattahanaphong (THA)
Pool A – England (ENG) vs. Chinese Taipei (TPE)
8:05 a.m. – Charley Hull/Georgia Hall (ENG) vs. Wei-Ling Hsu/Teresa Lu (TPE)
8:20 a.m. – Bronte Law/Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG) vs. Candie Kung/Phoebe Yao (TPE)
Pool A – Republic of Korea (KOR) vs. Australia (AUS)
8:35 a.m. – So Yeon Ryu/In Gee Chun (KOR) vs. Minjee Lee/Sarah Jane Smith (AUS)
8:50 a.m. – Sung Hyun Park/In-Kyung Kim (KOR) vs. Su Oh/Katherine Kirk (AUS)
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