Isabelle Boineau and Nuria Iturrios (pictured) won their match for the Ladies European Tour team on a solid opening day.
The LPGA of Japan Team won all four of their matches on day one of The Queens presented by Kowa to surge into a four point lead at Miyoshi Country Club in Nagoya.
It was a good day for the Japanese captain Ritsuko Ryu in the unique team match play tournament between the Australian, Korean, Japanese and Ladies European Tours. Ryu said: “At the start things were very tight in all matches but everyone tried their best and every team had fantastic players.”
With eight points, Japan holds a four point lead over the Korean LPGA and Ladies European Tour.
The first points for Europe came on the 17th green from Scottish Solheim Cup veteran Catriona Matthew and Dane Nanna Koerstz Madsen in the third foursomes match against Australians Sarah Kemp and Stacey Keating. Three up after eight holes, the Europeans lost the ninth and 10th but won the par-3 13th with a bogey. Although they lost the 16th, the Australians were in a heap of bother from the 17th tee after hitting into the trees right of the fairway and the LET representatives won with a par.
“It was a tricky day out there in the wind and playing foursomes, so we did what we had to, to win,” said Matthew, who has been selected as a vice-captain to Annika Sorenstam at next year’s Solheim Cup match in Iowa. “I always like the team competitions. It’s something different. You play 20-odd weeks a year in normal tournaments. With some of the younger players in, being very keen and excited to be here, it’s been good fun. We’ve got off to a good start and it’s always a happier camp when you’re doing well.”
The feisty Madsen felt that she gelled well with the serene Matthew, with whom she was playing for the first time. “She is really nice: calm and pretty steady,” said Madsen. “It’s always great to get those first points but to be honest we didn’t play that well. We were always in the fairway but we didn’t fire at the pin that much. They didn’t play better and we just kept it going.”
A sensational holed bunker shot for birdie on the short 16th from Nuria Iturrios helped the young Spaniard and Frenchwoman Isabelle Boineau to win the sixth foursomes match against the experienced Koreans Hee Won Jung and Seon Woo Bae.
Both players are making their debut in the tournament and the great friends made an impressive partnership. Three up after eight holes, they were back to all square after 13 but they won the long 15th and 16th. The Koreans made a gain at the 17th, but came unstuck when Jung hit the pair’s second shot into the lake right of the green from a fairway bunker and they conceded the hole.
Boineau said: “We started quite well and were three up after eight holes. In the middle of the course we had a little trouble but then we managed to take a deep breath and came back with a good up and down on 13 and a good birdie on 14. On the par-5 15th Nuria hit a drive 50 yards past the Korean. Then Nuria made an amazing bunker shot on 16. I think I fell in love with her right there!”
Iturrios took inspiration from the tattoo on her team mate Georgia Hall’s wrist, which reads: ‘deep breath,’ and said that Boineau often reminded her to “deep breathe!”
Proud Ladies European Tour team captain Trish Johnson said that her players were “performing admirably” and that they weren’t used to putting to pin positions on such severe slopes on the LET.
“The pins were in some very interesting places to say the least and I think that’s what they do here on the Japanese tour. Our girls need to get used to some very slopey pins. I don’t think we’ll go home and moan about pins like we normally do.
“An excellent first day but we need to work on that tomorrow. We desperately want to finish in the top two.”
Korean team captain Jiyai Shin said: “The weather was really warm and nice. It was a little windy, but generally great. Our team enjoyed the match. We had two wins, two close. They had a lot of confidence so I look forward to tomorrow and making a lot of birdies.”
Australian captain Rachel Hetherington congratulated the Japanese side and added: “As a team we played fairly well however the JLPGA played very well so we’re looking forward to our combinations tomorrow and making more birdies.”
Friday Foursomes Results
Ritsuko Ryu and Kotone Hori (JLPGA) defeated Florentyna Parker and Georgia Hall (LET) 2 and 1
Min Sun Kim and Su Yeon Jang (KLPGA) defeated Whitney Hillier and Rachel Hetherington (ALPG) 2 and 1
Catriona Matthew and Nanna Koerstz Madsen (LET) defeated Sarah Kemp and Stacey Keating (ALPG) 2 and 1
Shiho Oyama and Ai Suzuki (JLPGA) defeated Jin-Young Ko and Jiyai Shin (KLPGA) 1 up
Yukari Nishiyama and Megumi Shimokawa (JLPGA) defeated Katherine Kirk and Lauren Hibbert (ALPG) 2 up
Nuria Iturrios and Isabelle Boineau (LET) defeated Hee Won Jung and Seon Woo Bae (KLPGA) 2 and 1
Erika Kikuchi and Ayaka Watanabe (JLPGA) defeated Linda Wessberg and Becky Morgan (LET) 1 up
Hae Rym Kim and Seung Hyun Lee (KLPGA) defeated Su-Hyun Oh and Sarah Jane Smith (ALPG) 4 and 3
(2 points for a win, 1 point for a halved match)
Saturday Four-ball Pairings
8.30am Katherine Kirk and Lauren Hibbert (ALPG) versus Catriona Matthew and Georgia Hall (LET)
8.42am Jiyai Shin and Min Sun Kim (KLPGA) versus Shiho Oyama and Ai Suzuki (JLPGA)
8.54am Ritsuko Ryu and Megumi Shimokawa (JLPGA) versus Sarah Jane Smith and Sarah Kemp (ALPG)
9.06am Becky Morgan and Nuria Iturrios (LET) versus Jeongmin Cho and Jin-Young Ko (LPGA)
9.18am Yumiko Yoshida and Kotone Hori (JLPGA) versus Florentyna Parker and Isabelle Boineau (LET)
9.30am Stacey Keating and Cathryn Bristow (ALPG) versus Hee Won Jung and Seon Woo Bae (KLPGA)
9.42am Linda Wessberg and Nanna Koerstz Madsen (LET) versus Su-Hyun Oh and Whitney Hillier (ALPG)
9.54am Su Yeon Jang and Seung Hyun Lee (KLPGA) versus Erika Kikuchi and Ayaka Watanabe (JLPGA)