S. Korea splits 2nd round matches at International Crown

October 5, 2018

INCHEON, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) — South Korea split its two matches with Australia in the rainy second round of an LPGA team competition on home soil Friday.

Ryu So-yeon and Chun In-gee defeated Minjee Lee and Sarah Jane Smith 2&1 in the first four-ball match of Round 2 at the UL International Crown at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul.

Park Sung-hyun and Kim In-kyung couldn’t follow that up with a win for the host country, as Katherine Kirk and Su Oh beat them 3&2 on the par-72, 6,508-yard course.

In the four-ball match, players each hit their own ball, and the better score of the two becomes that team’s score on the given hole. Each match victory is worth two points, and a halve (a tie) is good for one point.

Ryu So-yeon (L) and Chun In-gee are all smiles after completing the second hole during the second round of the UL International Crown at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Oct. 5, 2018, in this photo provided by the tournament organizers. (Yonhap)

Ryu So-yeon (L) and Chun In-gee are all smiles after completing the second hole during the second round of the UL International Crown at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Oct. 5, 2018, in this photo provided by the tournament organizers. (Yonhap)

The eight nations in action here are divided into two groups. South Korea is in Pool A with England, Australia and Chinese Taipei. The Pool B nations are the United States, Japan, Thailand and Sweden.

South Korea won both of its matches on Thursday to take an early lead in Pool A, but England won both second-round matches early Friday to reach the top of the standings with seven points, one better than South Korea. Australia has three points, and Chinese Taipei has zero.

After three rounds of four-ball matches, the top two nations from each group, plus the wild card winner, will play in the singles matches on Sunday. Each nation will play one singles match against every other country. The team with the highest point total after all four days of competition will be crowned the champion.

Following the completion of the second round, the teams returned to the course to play a few more holes for the third round, which was originally scheduled for Saturday. The LPGA moved up Friday’s opening tee times by about two hours and squeezed in some third round action in anticipation of inclement weather over the weekend caused by approaching Typhoon Kong-rey.

In the second round, Ryu and Chun had a 3-up lead with five holes to play, before Lee won the 14th and 15th holes with consecutive birdies and made it only 1-up for South Korea. But Ryu made a match-clinching birdie at the par-three 17th, securing her second straight victory with Chun as her partner.

Ryu So-yeon is about to tee off on the third hole during the second round of the UL International Crown at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Oct. 5, 2018, in this photo provided by the tournament organizers. (Yonhap)

Ryu So-yeon is about to tee off on the third hole during the second round of the UL International Crown at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Oct. 5, 2018, in this photo provided by the tournament organizers. (Yonhap)

Park and Kim never led against Kirk and Oh. Kirk gave Australia a 1-up lead with a birdie on the opening hole, and she and Oh opened a 3-up lead through 12 holes.

South Korea finally won a hole at the 14th with Kim’s birdie — the first birdie by either of them all day — but Kirk restored a 3-up lead for Australia with a birdie at the 15th. The best the South Koreans could do was halve the match by winning the next three holes, but they only matched Oh’s par at the 16th with pars of their own.

In the other second-round matches, the defending champion U.S. collected two breezy victories over Thailand. It was Jessica Korda and Michelle Wie over Moriya Jutanugarn and Pornanong Phatlum 6&4, and Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson getting past Ariya Jutanugarn and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong 4&3.

Kim In-kyung (L) and Park Sung-hyun bump fists after finishing the fourth hole during the second round of the UL International Crown at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Oct. 5, 2018, in this photo provided by the tournament organizers. (Yonhap)

Kim In-kyung (L) and Park Sung-hyun bump fists after finishing the fourth hole during the second round of the UL International Crown at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Oct. 5, 2018, in this photo provided by the tournament organizers. (Yonhap)

The Americans lead Pool B with six points.

Sweden and Japan split their two matches. Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall beat Misuzu Narita and Mamiko Higa 6&4. Nasa Hataoka and Ayako Uehara responded for Japan by defeating Pernilla Lindberg and Madelene Sagstrom 4&3.

In Pool A, England won both of its second-round matches against Chinese Taipei.

Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England beat Candie Kung and Phoebe Yao of Chinese Taipei 6&4, and Charley Hull and Georgia Hall joined their teammates in the win column with a 2&1 victory over Hsu Wei-Ling and Teresa Lu.

In the third round, South Korea took on England. When the third round was suspended due to darkness at 5:43 p.m., Park and Kim were leading Hall and Hull by 4-up through eight holes. Law and Shadoff were leading Ryu and Chun 1-up through six holes.

With the rain still coming down, Park and Kim caught fire to start the third round match, winning the first five holes against Hall and Hull for a convincing 5-up lead. Hall and Hull won the seventh hole with a birdie, and the two sides halved the eighth hole when the play was called.

Chun won the second hole for South Korea with a birdie — her second straight to start the round — but the English team came back to win the fourth and fifth holes with birdies to claim a 1-up lead. They managed to complete six holes.

Thailand and Sweden were the first teams to tee off in the third round. Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn for Thailand and Nordqvist and Hedwall for Sweden played the most holes with 14, with the Thai sisters taking a 3-up lead.

If the rest of the third round is wiped out Saturday because of weather, the players will be out on the course early Sunday to complete that stage to determine who will advance to the singles portion of the event.

South Korea is chasing its first International Crown title, after finishing in third place in 2014 and second place in 2016.

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