USA claim last place in semifinals at LPGA International Crown
The United States clinched last place in the semifinals at the LPGA International Crown on Saturday to book a duel with Thailand, the only team to emerge from a four-ball pool game with a maximum of six wins.
The United States, already close to a semi-final spot after Friday’s games, lost a game and halved another against Sweden, but that was more than enough as China shared their two with England – unable to match the two wins achieve the opportunities for advancement that are needed.
Meanwhile, Thailand put on a perfect performance in billiards as Patty Tavatanakit and Atthaya Thitikul beat Australia’s Minjee Lee and Stephanie Kyriacou 1-1 and Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn defeated Hannah Green and Sarah Kemp 3&2.
Tavatanakit and Thitikul were 3-up through 13 holes when Lee and Kyriacou won two straight holes with birdies.
“I think it woke me up a little bit when they started making putts,” Tavatanakit said. “Steph was really exhausted. You have to give her that.
“But we did what we had to do and in the end we won.”
After the 16th hole was tied with pars, Thitikul folded Kyriacou’s birdie on a 17 and Tavatanakit folded to Kyriacou’s birdie on a par-5 18 to seal the win.
“We had to get the birdies to beat them,” Thitikul said.
With six match wins this week, Tavatanakit said the Thais feel “good spirits” ahead of Sunday at TPC Harding Park, where each semi-final will consist of two singles matches and a four-way match.
Winners return for a final in the same format on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s a match play,” Tavatanakit said. “At the end of the day, anything can happen. We’re just going to do our best and hopefully take the trophy home.”
They will face off against a US team featuring world number one Nelly Korda, recent Major winner Lilia Vu, Lexi Thompson and Danielle Kang.
– Sweden undefeated –
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall beat Vu and Korda 1 on Saturday while Thompson and Kang tied with Madelene Sagstrom and Maja Stark in the final match of the day.
Vu potted for eagle on the sixth hole from the fairway when she and Korda led much of their game, but Nordqvist’s birdies on 15 and 17 were enough for a win.
Sagstrom and Stark were 2-up for 13 holes, but the Americans won 14, 15 and 16 to go 1-up only for Stark’s birdie to win the 18th hole and forge the tie.
By then, however, the United States was already assured of getting through. China’s Yin Ruoning and Lin Xiyu earned one of the points they needed with a 2&1 win over England’s Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart-Shadoff.
But Alice Hewson and Liz Young clinched England’s only round robin win when Hewson’s birdie at 18 gave them a 1-up win over Liu Yu and Liu Ruixin.
In the other semi-final, Sweden, winners of Pool A by 5 1/2 points, meets Australia, who finished second in Pool B by 3 1/2 points behind Thailand.
In other games on Saturday, defending champions South Korea grabbed their first two wins of the week as Choi Hye-jin and Chun In-gee defeated Japan’s Nasa Hataoka and Ayaka Furue 3&1 and Ko Jin-young and Kim Hyo-joo defeated Yuka Saso and Hinako Shibuno 3&2.