Chinese Taipei and England lead in their respective pools after the first day. As a result, Team Australia and Team United States are at the bottom of the standings without any points on the board after Day One of the second International Crown at The Merit Club in Gurnee, Illinois
Teams had 30 minutes following the drop of the last putt in the final match of the day to determine their pairings for Day 2 of pool play.
DAY ONE MATCH RECAPS
(4) TEAM AUSTRALIA VS. (5) TEAM CHINESE TAIPEI – POOL A
Yani Tseng/Teresa Lu (Chinese Taipei) DEFEATED Karrie Webb/Su Oh (Australia), 3&2
The duo of Yani Tseng and Teresa Lu claimed the first points of the week after defeating Karrie Webb and Su Oh 3&2. The team from Chinese Taipei was never down throughout the entire round and held the lead on 13 of the 16 holes played. But proud Aussie Karrie Webb was not going to go down without a fight. After going 2DN on the 10th hole, Webb won back-to-back holes on Nos. 11 and 12 to square the match, highlighted by a 40-foot birdie putt on the 11th.
Tseng and Lu would respond, winning the next three consecutive holes to go 3UP with four holes to play. A halved hole on 16 sealed the deal for Chinese Taipei. Tseng said her team changed their game plan from what they used in 2014 and it seemed to work in their favor.
“We kind of changed it a little bit, the teammates and the strategy on the golf course,” said Tseng. “We tried to make as much birdies as we can instead of one play aggressive and one play more smart and safe. Both me and Teresa today, we’d go for every shot almost. We had fun. I think we were a very good team.”
Candie Kung/Ssu-Chia Cheng (Chinese Taipei) DEFEATED Minjee Lee/Rebecca Artis (Australia), 2 UP
Match Two was a complete back-and-forth battle until the final hole when Candie Kung birdied the 18th to defeat the Australians 2UP. Minjee Lee won three holes for the Aussies including the critical par-5 16th to cut the lead to one with two holes to play. After halving the 17th hole, the Aussies had one final chance to pull even but failed to convert on their birdie chances and conceded Kung’s birdie putt. With the victory, Chinese Taipei won both of their matches on the opening day for the second time after sweeping their Thursday matches in 2014.
“We were just trying to play our own golf out there,” said Kung. “They were making birdies, making eagles, and we were making birdies out there, too. She (Ssu-Chia) played awesome today. We just kept it in there.”
(3) TEAM JAPAN VS. (6) TEAM THAILAND – POOL B
Pornanong Phatlum/Moriya Jutanugarn (Thailand) DEFEATED Haru Nomura/Mika Miyazato (Japan), 2&1
The duo of Pornanong Phatlum and Moriya Jutanugarn put the first points of the week up on the board for Team Thailand after Phatlum birdied No. 17 to halve the hole and win the match 2&1. The Japanese took the early lead with a birdie from Mika Miyazato on the second hole but birdies from Moriya Jutanugarn on the third and fifth holes gave the Thai a lead they never relinquished.
Jutanugarn, who played all three four ball matches with her sister in the inaugural event in 2014, said communication between her and Phatlum was key.
“We’re trying to help each other, like keep talking and just have fun out there,” said Jutanugarn. “We’re just talking about the positive things, and what is going to happen, and we tried to help each other, talking about the games a little bit, like who’s going to go first, or sometimes help her like reading the line or she helped me. She kind of carried me a lot on the back nine, and I think we played pretty solid.”
Ariya Jutanugarn/Porani Chutichai (Thailand) HALVED Ai Suzuki/Ayaka Watanabe (Japan)
Match Four came down to the final putt as Ayaka Watanbe of Japan sank a birdie putt to win the hole and halve the match. It was one of four matches on Thursday to go to the 18th hole. Team Japan held the lead on seven of the nine holes on the front nine until Porani Chutichai’s second birdie of the day on the par-4 12th hole squared the match. Ariya Jutanugarn birdied the 15th hole to put the Thai 1UP with three holes to play. But Thailand failed to close out Japan on the remaining holes, opening the door for the Japanese to pull even.
Jutanugarn had seven birdies on the day and won three holes.
“I think I can be more aggressive and she can help me save,” said Jutanugarn. “I think today came out pretty good. We had a good match…She made some birdies, also. It’s not only me make like seven birdies, but I feel like more
comfortable every time I make a birdie because she made par already and I know she’s a good putter, so she kept me calm.”
(2) TEAM USA VS. (7) TEAM ENGLAND – POOL B
Jodi Ewart-Shadoff/Holly Clyburn (England) DEFEATED Cristie Kerr/Lexi Thompson (USA), 2&1
Team England jumped out to an early lead on the second hole against home team USA and never looked back. The momentum shifted back and forth throughout the round with Clyburn and Ewart-Shadoff able to capitalize on more of their chances. A birdie from Shadoff on 15 and another from Clyburn on 17 sealed Team USA’s fate as Team England’s first pairing collected two points before heading to watch their teammates.
“Ever since we got here this week, the team has bonded really well, and I knew that coming into it everyone was going to get on really well,” Ewart-Shadoff said. “Everyone is really laid back. You know, it helps. We were walking down the fairway right next to each other the whole time today. Lexi and Cristie, I don’t think they walked together at all. I think we’re having a lot of fun out there, and it definitely helped.”
Charley Hull/Mel Reid (England) DEFEATED Gerina Piller/Stacy Lewis (USA), 2&1
In a rematch between four members of the European and American Solheim Cup teams, it was Team England that came out on top. Team USA started with the early lead and were 2UP through six holes but momentum shifted on holes 7-8-9 and England took a lead they never lost. Charley Hull’s eagle on 16 and birdie on 17 clinched the win for Team England and gave them four points for the day, leaving Team USA with no points to show for some solid play.
“Well, I just love playing in this kind of environment, especially when you are a bit of an underdog,” Hull said. “I just like proving people wrong, and it just makes you go out there, gives you a little bit more of a buzz. I enjoy playing against the Americans. Even on paper, we was obviously not as strong as the Americans. Yeah, it was great. I think it definitely helped us in a way because even people not cheering us on the golf course, we was kind of saying that, that we kind of like it because it makes us want to keep on making birdies and keep their crowd quiet.”
(1) TEAM KOREA VS. (8) TEAM CHINA – POOL A
Amy Yang/In Gee Chun (Republic of Korea) DEFEATED Shanshan Feng/Xi Yu Lin (China), 2 UP
Amy Yang and In Gee Chun were able to put the first points on the board for the No. 1 seed Team Korea by winning 2UP against Shanshan Feng and Xi Yu Lin.
After the groups sat all square after five holes, Chun made a birdie on the sixth and the group didn’t look back eventually closing out the match on 18 when Yang’s short birdie putt was conceded.
“Shanshan and Jing are two of the most wonderful persons and two best Chinese players,” Chun said. “We’re just lucky to get two points against them.”
Jing Yan/Simin Feng (China) DEFEATED So Yeon Ryu/Sei Young Kim (Republic of Korea), 1 UP
The upset of the day came from the Chinese team of Simin Feng and Jing Yan when they defeated one of the strongest teams on paper, So Yeon Ryu and Sei Young Kim, in the final match of the day. The match was all square through the first six holes until Yan birdied the par-3 7th hole. They would exchange punches the rest of the way. Birdies on the 10th pulled the Koreans even but the Chinese struck back winning back-to-back holes on 11 and 12. Ryu won holes 13 and 14 to pull even again until an eagle on the 16th by Yan put the Chinese 1UP with two to play.
After both Korean players birdied the par-4 18th hole and Feng missed her birdie chance, it came down to Yan’s eight-foot birdie to halve the hole and win the match.
“Well, I knew that whatever we did, we already put in a good round, so then I like playing with So Yeon and Sei Young,” said Yan. “They are such amazing players. We really did our best out there, and whatever we did, we already had a point, so it was a good round. I really wanted to drop that putt for Jenny Money (teammate Shanshan Feng), so yeah, we were able to do that, which I’m so happy about.”