SECOND ROUND COMPLETE AT THE 2018 UL INTERNATIONAL CROWN
England leads Pool A with seven points thanks to second-round wins from Charley Hull/Georgia Hall and Bronte Law/Jodi Ewart Shadoff over Team Chinese Taipei. Hull and Hall sat all square with Wei-Ling Hsu and Teresa Lu through 12. Hull’s birdie at the par-3 13th pulled England to a 1-up advantage, and they went 2 up when Hall birdied the par-4 16th. Host country Republic of Korea is second with six points, followed by Australia with three points and Chinese Taipei with zero points.
The United States leads Pool B with six points, on the strength of a second-round sweep from Cristie Kerr/Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda/Michelle Wie over Team Thailand. Kerr and Thompson’s 4-and-3 win brings them to 10-1-2 all-time in UL International Crown and Solheim Cup competition. Sweden sits in second with four points, while Japan and Thailand are tied for third with three points apiece.
The second round was played nearly entirely in rain moving into the Incheon region ahead of Typhoon Kong-Rey. Tropical moisture is expected to hit Incheon tonight and into Saturday, causing the third round originally scheduled for Saturday to be moved up to Friday afternoon.
Anna Nordqvist/Caroline Hedwall (SWE) def. Misuzu Narita/Mamiko Higa (JPN), 6 and 4
Sweden’s dynamic duo of Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall continued their successful partnership in the second round, earning their fourth UL International Crown win in their 6-and-4 romp over Japan’s Misuzu Narita and Mamiko Higa. The Swedes played bogey-free through 14 holes and did not drop a single hole en route to victory.
“We never gave anything away, to be honest,” said Hedwall, whose birdie at the par-4 second earned the Swedes a lead that they never relinquished. “We never made a bogey and conditions were tough out there. It was just nice to get that win and to finish early today so we can get some rest for the afternoon.”
Nordqvist and Hedwall now have a 4-0-1 record as a ULIC pairing, the second-most successful partnership behind the USA’s Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson.
Ayako Uehara/Nasa Hataoka (JPN) def. Pernilla Lindberg/Madelene Sagstrom (SWE), 4 and 3
The second match between Japan and Sweden was the polar opposite of the first. Nasa Hataoka and Ayako Uehara of Japan won the second, third and fourth holes to quickly built a 3-up lead over Pernilla Lindberg and Madelene Sagstrom. A pair of Japanese birdies at No. 7 extended the advantage to 4 up, and while Sweden was able to knock one hole off their deficit with a win at No. 11, Hataoka and Uehara both birdied the ensuing hole to recapture their 4-up lead and ultimately the 4-and-3 victory.
“Our strategy today was we wanted to be aggressive and really finish early so we can take a break longer and then prepare for the next match,” said Uehara, who joined the Japanese team last week following an injury to Ai Suzuki. “So we did our strategy very well today.”
UNITED STATES (USA) VS. THAILAND (THA)
Jessica Korda/Michelle Wie (USA) d. Moriya Jutanugarn/Pornanong Phatlum (THA), 6 and 4
The frustrations that Jessica Korda and Michelle Wie felt from a first-round loss were taken out on Thailand early Friday as the rookie American tandem dispatched Moriya Jutanugarn and Pornanong Phatlum for their first four-ball win, 6 and 4.
Korda and Wie didn’t lose a hole for the entire match, finishing off a struggling Thailand team in just 14 holes. The Americans built a 3-up lead through seven holes and doubled that lead by the time the match was done. The result came on the heels of a tough loss to Team Sweden on Thursday, which saw Wie and Korda rally back from four holes behind, extending the match to No. 18 before falling for the United States’ only loss of the tournament thus far.
Wie said after the second-round match, “On the holes where I was out, she was good. On the holes where she was out, I was good, and it was pretty good chemistry out there this morning. Even after yesterday, we were testing each other and we were just extremely proud for not giving up, and for getting to 18. I think that helped a lot.”
Cristie Kerr/Lexi Thompson (USA) d. Ariya Jutanugarn/Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (THA), 4 and 3
The powerhouse pairing of Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr completed the USA’s sweep of Thailand in the second round of four-ball, defeating Rolex Rankings No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong, 4 and 3. The result was Kerr and Thompson’s sixth win as a team in UL International Crown competition, the most in the event’s history by one pairing, and brought them to 10-1-2 all-time in UL International Crown and Solheim Cup competition.
Kerr and Thompson trailed for the first time in the 2018 ULIC after Jutanugarn birdied the first hole, but they rebounded immediately with matching birdies on the par-4 second hole. In their own words, the duo ‘ham-and-egged’ their way to a 3-up lead through 10 holes that they pushed to 4 up at No. 14.
“We don't like being down. We don't,” said Kerr. “We try to make as many birdies as we can, and I'm sure she gets sick of me after a while saying, come on, let's go, let's go. But we ham-and-egged it really well again, and she lifted me up, and I was there kind of when I needed to be, so that's what a good team is.”
ENGLAND (ENG) VS. CHINESE TAIPEI (TPE)
Charley Hull/Georgia Hall (England) d. Wei-Ling Hsu/Teresa Lu (Chinese Taipei), 2 and 1
A day after battling back from 3 down with just five holes remaining to halve their opening four-ball match, England’s Charley Hull and Georgia Hall rallied from 1 down at the turn to beat Wei-Ling Hsu and Teresa Lu of Chinese Taipei, 2 and 1.
Hull, who is struggling from a bout of laryngitis, birdied the 10th and 13th to put England 1 up and Hall effectively sealed the deal with a birdie of her own at the par-4 16th as they went 2 up. Their well-earned victory gave England a second-round sweep and seven points for the week, with teammates Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart Shadoff having posted a commanding win earlier in the day.
"We've had a really good start to the tournament for Team England, so we're very happy," said Ricoh Women's British Open champion Hall, who birdied three of her last four holes. "Today we kind of took it in turns a bit more, and we played really well. I holed some really good putts on the back nine, and Charley was the better player on the front nine, so we kind of matched each other quite well."
Bronte Law/Jodi Ewart Shadoff (England) d. Candie Kung/Phoebe Yao (Chinese Taipei), 6 and 4
In-form Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart Shadoff rolled to a second successive victory in dominant style, crushing Candie Kung and Phoebe Yao of Chinese Taipei, 6 and 4. The English duo, who have not trailed at any point in their first two matches, went 3 up after just seven holes before shutting the door on their opponents at the driveable par-4 14th, where they both recorded birdies.
"It's always good to win a match obviously, and especially with us having to play Korea this afternoon," said UL International Crown rookie Law, referring to their third-round opponents. "It's good to have some momentum, and definitely coming off the back of two wins is going to do that."
Shadoff made three birdies on her own ball through 14 holes, in conditions that were far from easy on a rain-softened course playing ultra-long. "There were a couple of par-4s that weren't reachable, so that was interesting," said Shadoff. "But it's match play, so it doesn't really matter. Obviously not as many birdies as yesterday, but I think pars win holes today given the rain."
REPUBLIC OF KOREA (KOR) VS. AUSTRALIA (AUS)
So Yeon Ryu/In Gee Chun (KOR) d. Minjee Lee/Sarah Jane Smith (AUS), 2 and 1
“We're still 1 up. This is our game; it's not their game.”
Those words from So Yeon Ryu to her partner In Gee Chun proved a kickstarter after feeling like they hit a slump late in their opening nine. As a sign of true teamwork, the duo pocketed back-to-back birdies, one apiece on Nos. 8 and 9, to earn a 2-up advantage over Australia’s Minjee Lee and Sarah Jane Smith. Lee put on an impressive fight on the back nine, carding birdies on holes 14 and 15, but her back-nine rally wasn’t enough to pull ahead of the home team.
Admitting to losing her concentration late in the match, Ryu said that Chun helped encourage her to stay on track and her birdie at the par-3 17th to complete the 2-and-1 win.
“I think looking back at the two days we had great team chemistry,” said Chun. “Whenever I made a miss or a mistake, she was there to back me up and vice versa.”
Su Oh/Katherine Kirk (AUS) d. Sung Hyun Park/In-Kyung Kim (KOR), 3 and 2
The morning’s final match was all Australia, all the way. Katherine Kirk drew first blood, winning the first hole with a par to give Australia a quick 1-up lead. Kirk and teammate Su Oh each birdied No. 3 and the pair never let up from there, earning a 3-and-2 win over Sung Hyun Park and In-Kyung Kim.
“This golf course is tough. We’re not playing not aggressive,” said Kirk, who earned her first win in five UL International Crown matches. “Probably playing a bit more conservatively because a lot of the runoffs are so severe. It is playing ridiculously long,”
Park and Kim only won a single hole during the match and took the host country’s first loss of the competition.
“The weather condition affected my game a little bit,” said Park. “I'm not pleased with how I played on the front because of the conditions.”
Pool B – Thailand (THA) vs. Sweden (SWE)
1:25 p.m. – Moriya Jutanugarn/Ariya Jutanugarn (THA) vs. Anna Nordqvist/Caroline Hedwall (SWE)
1:40 p.m. – Pornanong Phatlum/Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (THA) vs. Pernilla Lindberg/Madelene Sagstrom (SWE)
Pool B – United States (USA) vs. Japan (JPN)
1:55 p.m. – Jessica Korda/Michelle Wie (USA) vs. Nasa Hataoka/Ayako Uehara (JPN)
2:10 p.m. – Cristie Kerr/Lexi Thompson (USA) vs. Misuzu Narita/Mamiko Higa (JPN)
Pool A – Australia (AUS) vs. Chinese Taipei (TPE)
2:55 p.m. – Minjee Lee/Sarah Jane Smith (AUS) vs. Candie Kung/Teresa Lu (TPE)
3:10 p.m. – Su Oh/Katherine Kirk (AUS) vs. Wei-Ling Hsu/Phoebe Yao (TPE)
Pool A – England (ENG) vs. Republic of Korea (KOR)
3:25 p.m. – Charley Hull/Georgia Hall (ENG) vs. Sung Hyun Park/In-Kyung Kim (KOR)
3:40 p.m. – Bronte Law/Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG) vs. In Gee Chun/So Yeon Ryu