March 15, 2024

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U.S. Splits With China on 1st Day of International Crown

3 min read
U.S. Splits With China on 1st Day of International Crown

At the International Crown team competition, the United States split its first two matches against China thanks to a comeback on the back nine from world No. 1 Nelly Korda and Lilia Vu.

In their opening two matches against China on Thursday at the International Crown team competition, world No. 1 Nelly Korda and Lilia Vu rallied on the back nine to assist the United States.

“It was pretty much a grind, but then we kind of ran away with it toward the end,” Korda said.

After trailing Ruoning Yin and Xiyu Lin by one at the halfway point, Korda and Vu went on a three-hole winning streak on the back nine thanks to Vu’s birdies on the 13th and 15th holes. Match ended in a 2–1 victory for Korda and Vu.

The other American match was lost by Lexi Thompson and Danielle Kang. 1 up to Yu and Ruixin Lius.

Taking advantage of a course that had been softened by rain earlier in the week, Sweden defeated England in both matches in the other Pool A match. Australia unexpectedly defeated South Korea, the defending champion, in Pool B, while Thailand thumped Japan.

The United States team is the No. 1 seed in the match-play competition known as the International Crown, which features teams of four golfers from eight different nations. 1 overall and South Korea second.

The teams are split into two pools of four nations each, and after three days of round-robin four-ball competition, the top two players from each pool advance to the semifinals on Sunday. Each victory earns a team one point, and a tie results in a half-point.

Yin, who is 20 years old, wore No. 30 in honor of Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was scheduled to play against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA playoffs after she finished the course.

She birdied the ninth hole to give her team a one-up advantage at the halfway point, and the American pair then took control of the game on the back nine.

“I felt like we were struggling off the tee a little bit, but we were still getting chances for birdies, they just weren’t falling,” Vu said. “Once number 13 arrived, we gained a lot of momentum and just kept going.”

Kang’s birdies on the eighth and tenth holes helped Thompson and Kang overturn an early two-hole deficit before Liu’s birdie on the twelveth hole gave China the lead. Thompson had several opportunities to recover that but was unable to sink crucial putts in the closing stages.

The biggest surprise of the day came from Australia, which in the first three iterations of this competition had never placed higher than sixth.

Green and Sarah Kemp defeated Hyo Joo Kim and Jin Young Ko 2 to 1 to build on their victory at the tour’s Los Angeles stop last week. Hye-Jin Choi and In Gee Chun were defeated two up by Minjee Lee and Steph Kyriacou.

“I’m not surprised that this happened,” Kemp said. “Last night was fantastic. This past week was fantastic. The fact that we did what we did today doesn’t surprise me because we’re all just having a good time. … However, it’s pretty awesome that my first International Crown day started out like this.”

In Pool A, fifth-seeded Sweden got off to a quick start with victories over Liz Young and Alice Hewson by Madeline Sagstrom and Maja Stark and Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart Shadoff by Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall, 4 and 3, and 5 and 4, respectively.

Hewson and Young were a pair of last-minute replacements for England after Georgia Hall and Charley Hull withdrew late on Sunday night.

Thailand, the sixth-seeded team, defeated No. 3 seed Sisters Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand defeated Nasa Hataoka and Hinako Shibuno by a score of 2 up, while Patty Tavatanakit and Atthaya Thitikul triumphed over Yuka Saso and Ayaka Furue by a score of 1 up.

This tournament has now been held four times after being postponed in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. Spain won the inaugural competition in 2014, the US won it in 2016, and South Korea won it in 2018.

This is the first professional women’s competition held at the illustrious Harding Park, which has previously played host to a number of significant male sporting occasions, including the Presidents Cup in 2009 and the PGA Championship in 2020.


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