Session Three Match Recaps
THAILAND (THA) VS. SWEDEN (SWE)
Moriya Jutanugarn/Ariya Jutanugarn (THA) def. Anna Nordqvist/Caroline Hedwall (SWE), 2 and 1
After playing separately for the first two rounds, the sister tandem of Moriya Jutanugarn and Ariya Jutanugarn gave the powerful Swedish duo of Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall their first loss in six UL International Crown matches.
Nordqvist and Hedwall got off to a fast start, with Nordqvist birdieing the first and fourth holes to build a 2-up lead. The sisters squared the match when Moriya Jutanugarn chipped in for birdie at the par-3 ninth and took a 1-up lead when Ariya Jutanugarn birdied the par-4 10th. Back-to-back Thai birdies at Nos. 13 and 14 pulled them to an insurmountable 3-up margin.
Pernilla Lindberg/Madelene Sagstrom (SWE) def Pornanong Phatlum/Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (THA), 2 and 1
Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and Madelene Sagstrom earned their first points of the 2018 UL International Crown, never trailing in their 2-and-1 win over Pornanong Phatlum and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong of Thailand. But while they never trailed, the Swedes were also never able to fully pull clear of their Thai counterparts, never holding more than a 2-up lead.
Twice on the opening nine, Sweden earned a 1-up advantage, and both times Thailand was able to quickly bring the match back all square. Lindberg, the 2018 ANA Inspiration winner and a veteran of the Swedish team at the 2014 UL International Crown, birdied the par-3 ninth to again pull clear by one, and Sagstrom’s birdie at the par-4 11th gave them their first 2-up lead. Thailand pulled within one when Phatlum birdied the par-5 15th, but two more halved holes gave Sweden the victory.
UNITED STATES (USA) VS. JAPAN (JPN)
Nasa Hataoka/Ayako Uehara (JPN) def. Jessica Korda/Michelle Wie (USA), 2 and 1
The early part of the first United States/Japan match had a decidedly American feel, as Jessica Korda and Michelle Wie held a 1-up advantage for much of the opening nine. The Japanese pair of Nasa Hataoka and Ayako Uehara squared the match going to the second nine and took a 1-up lead with a par from Uehara at No. 11. Both Japanese players then birdied No. 13, and the sides halved the remaining four holes, giving Japan the come-back win.
Cristie Kerr/Lexi Thompson (USA) def. Misuzu Narita/Mamiko Higa (JPN), 4 and 3
For the seventh time in UL International Crown history, the American pair of Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson won their four-ball match, this time with a remarkable 4-and-3 come-from-behind victory over Japan’s Misuzu Narita and Mamiko Higa. Kerr and Thompson trailed by three after four holes, losing three holes on three birdies from Team Japan. But after that slow start, the Americans returned to their winning ways.
Kerr birdied the par-5 seventh to pull within two, a moment that Thompson pointed to as the momentum shift. Thompson then birdied six straight holes at Nos. 9-14, with Kerr adding birdies of her own at 11, 12 and 14, to a Japanese 2-up lead to a 4-up advantage for Team USA.
“I think the putt that she made on No. 7 for a birdie, just to get that little momentum going back our way, that's what we needed,” said Thompson, who is now 11-1-2 when paired with Kerr in UL International Crown and Solheim Cup competition. “We kick-started it from there, just fired at pins and just put a little pressure on them.”
AUSTRALIA (AUS) VS. CHINESE TAIPEI (TPE)
Minjee Lee/Sarah Jane Smith (AUS) def. Candie Kung/Teresa Lu (TPE), 2 up
Candie Kung and Teresa Lu took the first hole and kept the early lead seeking their first points of the UL International Crown, but the duo of Minjee Lee and Sarah Jane Smith fought back to help Australia secure a sweep of Chinese Taipei in Session 3. The match was all square with two holes to play before Lee closed with back-to-back birdies for a 2-up win, leaving Chinese Taipei as the only team without a win or tie in three days of four-ball.
Su Oh/Katherine Kirk (AUS) def. Wei-Ling Hsu/Phoebe Yao (TPE), 5 and 4
The third round’s biggest win went to the Australian pairing of Su Oh and Katherine Kirk, who never trailed and only dropped one hole in their 5-and-4 rout of Chinese Taipei’s Wei-Ling Hsu and Phoebe Yao. Kirk opened the Australian dominance with a birdie at the par-4 second hole and the pair rolled in from there, winning five more holes with birdies to cap off Australia’s most successful UL International Crown to date.
“We were feeding off each other,” said Oh, who went 2-1-0 paired with Kirk this week. “We were both playing quite solid, so we'd just trust that one is going to stiff it, so we could be aggressive with it.”
ENGLAND (ENG) VS. REPUBLIC OF KOREA (KOR)
Sung Hyun Park/In-Kyung Kim (KOR) def. Charley Hull/Georgia Hall (ENG), 4 and 2
Bruised after suffering a 3-and-2 loss to Australia's Su Oh and Katherine Kirk in their previous four-ball encounter, Sung Hyun Park and In-Kyung Kim returned to winning ways for the Republic of Korea with a commanding 4-and-2 victory over English duo Charley Hull and Georgia Hall in a match where they never trailed.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Park and Kim had raced 5 up after just six holes courtesy of four early birdies, then held off brief resurgence by their opponents around the turn with further birdies at the par-4 12th and par-4 16th to clinch the win in front of massive galleries watching their every move.
In Gee Chun/So Yeon Ryu def. Bronte Law/Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG), 4 and 3
So Yeon Ryu drained a slick 30-foot birdie putt on the 15th green to wrap up a hard-fought 4-and-3 victory in partnership with In Gee Chun over England's Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart Shadoff, ending a four-ball encounter of high quality that had been all square after eight holes.
Ryu then went on a birdie tear at the ninth, 10th, 13th, 14th and 15th as the powerhouse Korean combination improved their four-ball record to a perfect 3-0-0 for the week. "It was quite aggressive speed, because In Gee already made a par, so I knew I could play a little aggressive," Ryu said of her final birdie putt. "That confidence made me putt really well. The magic just really worked for us today."
Japan, Australia and Thailand advanced to the wild-card playoff for the final singles berth. With Moriya Jutanugarn safely on in two, an aggressive Ariya Jutanugarn chipped in for eagle from short of the green at the par-4 14th hole to secure the final spot for Thailand.
10:45 a.m. – Caroline Hedwall (SWE) vs. Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (THA)
10:55 a.m. – Charley Hull (ENG) vs. Pornanong Phatlum (THA)
11:05 a.m. – Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG) vs. Pernilla Lindberg (SWE)
11:15 a.m. – Michelle Wie (USA) vs. Moriya Jutanugarn (THA)
11:25 a.m. – Sung Hyun Park (KOR) vs. Ariya Jutanugarn (THA)
11:35 a.m. – Jessica Korda (USA) vs. Madelene Sagstrom (SWE)
11:45 a.m. – In Gee Chun (KOR) vs. Anna Nordqvist (SWE)
11:55 a.m. – Cristie Kerr (USA) vs. Georgia Hall (ENG)
12:05 a.m. – In-Kyung Kim (KOR) vs. Bronte Law (ENG)
12:15 a.m. – So Yeon Ryu vs. Lexi Thompson (USA)