The Korea Herald


Korea set to take on Australia

By Korea Herald

Published : July 23, 2014 - 19:08

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Park In-bee, a former world No. 1 in women’s golf, will lead the South Korean team against Australia to open an international competition to be inaugurated by the LPGA Tour on Thursday in Maryland.

Park will be one of the four golfers on the South Korean squad at the first edition of the International Crown, which will open at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, a suburb of Baltimore, on Thursday, local time.

The four highest-ranked players from eight countries, based on their world ranking positions on March 31, will be in action.

Park, currently No. 3, is joined by No. 9 Ryu So-yeon, No. 18 Choi Na-yeon and No. 23 Kim In-kyung. At the time of the team selection, Park was still the top-ranked player, while Ryu was in sixth, Choi in 11th and Kim in 15th.

The eight countries have been divided into two pools.

The United States, as the top seed, is in Pool A along with Thailand, Spain and Taiwan. South Korea, the No. 2 seed, ended up in Pool B with Japan, Sweden and Australia.

The four-day competition will feature three days of four-ball matches and one day of singles matches. Two points will be awarded per victory and one point will be given for a halve. The top two countries from each pool plus the fifth, wild-card country will play in the singles matches on Sunday.

For the singles, the countries will be re-seeded based on their points from the four-ball matches. The total points accumulated from Thursday to Sunday will determine the inaugural champion.

To open the event, Park and Ryu will go up against Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright. Choi and Kim will play Karrie Webb, a Hall of Famer with 41 LPGA victories, including seven majors, and the 18-year-old Lee Min-jee, the No. 1-ranked amateur golfer whose parents were born in South Korea. Lee is the only amateur in the field this week.

The South Koreans will face Sweden on Friday and Japan on Saturday.

South Korea has dominated the LPGA Tour in recent years but the Americans have made strides in 2014, having won 11 of the 18 LPGA tournaments so far.

Stacy Lewis, currently the No. 1-ranked player, has won three times this year. She leads the contingent that features teenage sensation Lexi Thompson, who won her first career major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship this spring, and two veterans, Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr, who have won 26 LPGA titles combined.

The LPGA Tour has long had the biennial Solheim Cup as its featured international event, but because it pits the Americans against the Europeans, it has left out the best players in women’s golf from South Korea, Australia, Taiwan and Japan. (Yonhap)