Past and present Major champions Dame Laura Davies, Catriona Matthew and In Gee Chun feature in all-star cast ready to make history this week at The Queens presented by Kowa, an innovative new match play event starting on Friday at Miyoshi Golf and Country Club in Japan.
They are among the 36 players who will tee up in the unique tournament, with four teams of nine players representing the Ladies European Tour, Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan, Ladies Korean LPGA and Australian Professional Golf Inc.
A total of 34 matches will be played over three days from Friday to Sunday, including eight fourball matches on day one, eight foursomes matches on day two and 18 singles matches on day three. Scoring will be through a points system with up to 102 total points available. Each match is worth three points to the winning side and one point will be awarded to each side if a match ends all square after 18 holes.
The Ladies European Tour (LET) team is led by four-time Major Champion, England’s Dame Laura Davies, who has won 79 career titles, including seven on the LPGA of Japan Tour. The recent World Golf Hall of Fame member leads a team consisting of three English players (Davies, Hannah Burke and Melissa Reid), one Scot (Catriona Matthew), two Danish rookies (Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Emily Kristine Pedersen), two Frenchwomen (Gwladys Nocera and Karine Icher) and a Norwegian (Marianne Skarpnord). Matthew also brings Major winning experience to the team having triumphed at the 2011 Ricoh Women’s British Open.
The Korean LPGA Team will be led by the current US Women’s Open champion In Gee Chun, who won on her debut appearance on the US LPGA Tour at Lancaster Golf Club in July, adding to her seven KLPGA Tour titles and the two straight Majors she won this year on the LPGA of Japan. Chun will be joined by compatriots Sung Hyun Park, Jung Min Lee, Yoon Ji Cho, Jin Young Ko, Seon Woo Bae, Min Sun Kim, Bo-Mee Lee as well as Sei Young Kim, a three-time winner on the US LPGA in 2015 who was recently crowned the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year.
The LPGA of Japan team is led by Momoko Ueda, with 15 top 10 finishes this year. She is joined by Erika Kikuchi, Misuzu Narita, Akane Iijima, Shiho Oyama, Miki Sakai, Ritsuko Ryu, local player Erina Hara and Ayaka Watanabe, who has won two tournaments on the LPGA of Japan.
The Australian Ladies Professional Golf team will be captained by Rachel Hetherington, who earned eight US LPGA and two LET titles in a distinguished career. She is joined by Katherine Kirk, who won two LPGA and two LET/ALPG trophies, two-time tournament champions Nikki Campbell and Nikki Garrett, who are both recent first time mothers, Whitney Hillier, Sarah Kemp, Stephanie Na, Sarah Jane Smith and Lindsey Wright.
Although this is the first edition of The Queens presented by Kowa, Miyoshi Country Club has a rich history of hosting world class tournaments having held the Tokai Classic on the Japan Golf Tour for the last 46 years, the Japan Women’s Open in 1998 and a team match play event between Korea and Japan which was played 12 times. The Joseph Earnest Crane designed West Course, which will play as a 6,500 yard par 72, opened in 1961. It has wide and undulating fairways separated by dotted ponds and pine-forest and is generally considered one of the toughest courses in Japan.