BALTIMORE: South Korea and the US will be the favourites in an eight-nation showdown for global women’s golf supremacy when the inaugural $1.6 million LPGA International Crown team matches begin Thursday.
Asian and Australian stars have their first chance to compete in a team format against American and European rivals who meet in the biennial Solheim Cup event.
“Every time I see Solheim Cup I’m so excited,” said Taiwan’s former world number one Tseng Yani. “I wish I were part of it. I was always hoping I could play in an event like this because golf is very lonely.
“To play on this stage, I don’t know how to describe it. I just hope I don’t cry on the first tee when I hear my country’s song.”
The eight top teams based on 2013’s year-end world rankings earned berths in the event, with the actual four women on each team decided by the world rankings at the end of March.
The Americans edged South Korea for the overall top seed and the host US women will play in Group A against Taiwan, Spain and Thailand, while Group B sends the Koreans against Australia, Sweden and Japan.
Each team will play two four-ball matches Thursday, Friday and Saturday and the five winningest teams will advance to Sunday’s final 10 singles matches to decide a champion.
“We’re here to wear the crown,” said world number one Stacy Lewis of the US.
“It’s something we’ve needed for a long time, getting the Asian players involved. They have more than deserved an event like this, so I’m interested to see how it all plays out.”
And when it comes to the Koreans, Lewis says, “They are a great team. I don’t care what the numbers say. They are going to be a hard team to beat.”
Being bumped from the top seed by the Americans eases the pressure and adds some motivation for South Korea, said former world number one Choi Na-Yeon.
“When we were number one, all players had a lot of pressure but we also had great pride,” said Choi.
“When we moved back to number two we were a little released from the pressure but got some motivation to get back where we were. We will really try our best.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2014.
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