The Japanese team won 10 out of a possible 12 points in the foursomes at Miyoshi Golf Club on Saturday to consolidate its lead in The Queens presented by Kowa, a unique match play tournament between the Australian, Korean, Japanese and Ladies European Tours.
On a clear and cool day in Nagoya, the home side won three and a half of their four matches to build an eight point lead over Korea with 22 points. The LET team is six further back with eight points and seven ahead of the Australian team with one point. In the scoring system developed for the event, three points are awarded for a match won with one point for a halve.
With a maximum of 27 points available to each team in the final day singles, there is still everything to play for and Japanese Captain Momoko Ueda is not taking anything for granted. She said: “Although it was the first time for most of us to play in a foursome, we were able to enjoy it with the great support of the Japanese fans behind us. Obviously it was another great result for us today, but you never know what happens in golf, so we will tighten up once again to prepare ourselves to win all the remaining matches.”
Her team is currently unbeaten, but it was an extremely close top match against Europeans Hannah Burke and Melissa Reid, who came from two down to pull one ahead after 14 holes. The Englishwomen were one up coming to the last green but Burke’s approach shot from the rough found the water and the pair lost the final hole resulting in a halve.
Japanese pair Ritsuko Ryu and Akane Iijima then beat Australians Rachel Hetherington and Whitney Hillier by 2&1 in the third match and Ayaka Watanabe and Erika Kikuchi beat European Solheim Cup players Catriona Matthew and Gwladys Nocera by 2&1 in the fifth.
Captain Ueda and Erina Hara completed their team’s whitewash with a 5&4 victory over Koreans In Gee Chun and Sei Young Kim, the US Women’s Open champion and LPGA Rookie of the Year respectively.
The Korean team won two and a half of its foursomes matches with victories from Yoon Ji Cho and Jung Min Lee over Marianne Skarpnord and Emily Kristine Pedersen and Jin Young Ko and Bo-Mee Lee over Lindsey Wright and Nikki Garrett.
Karine Icher and Nanna Koertsz Madsen put three points on the board for the Ladies European Tour team with their 4&3 win over Australians Katherine Kirk and Nikki Garrett adding to the halve earned by Burke and Reid early in the day.
LET rookie Madsen added: “I enjoyed playing with Karine. It was very nice and calm out there and she is a great role model.”
Icher, a three-time Solheim Cup player, said: “I’m really impressed by my partner because she played really well. She didn’t miss any putts. I passed the hole many times and she always made the four or five footer to come back, which was good.”
Sarah Kemp and Sarah Jane Smith put the first point on the board for the Australian team when they halved with Koreans Sung Hyun Park and Min Sun Kim in the second match. The pair went one up against the Koreans at the 17th but lost the 18th after going out of bounds off the tee.
Australian captain Rachel Hetherington commented: “We got some points on the board today thanks to our double Sarahs and we feel like we played very well.”
Meanwhile Ladies European Tour Captain Laura Davies, who rested from the foursomes, said: “Our team is massively disappointed. Hats off to Japan, they had an unbelievable day, winning three of their four matches and seven out of eight so far. Realistically, we’re playing for second place against Korea at the moment. We need to win as many matches as we can.”
The 18 final day singles matches to decide who will reign at the first edition of ‘The Queens’ begin at 8am on Sunday, with the last match teeing off at 10.16am.
Catriona Matthew will lead the Ladies European Tour team out in the top match against Japan’s Misuzu Narita, while Davies will take on Australian Sarah Kemp in the third.
Melissa Reid will play against Sei-Young Kim, a three-time winner on the LPGA this year, while Gwladys Nocera faces Japan’s Erika Kikuchi. Emily Kristine Pedersen takes on Australian Sarah Jane Smith, Hannah Burke will play the Korean team captain Bo-Mee Lee and Nanna Koerstz Madsen faces In Gee Chun.
Karine Icher will play against Erina Hara, while in the penultimate match Marianne Skarpnord will take on the Australian captain Rachel Hetherington. In the final match, Japanese captain Momoko Ueda will play Korea’s Sung Hyun Park in front of a large and patriotic home crowd.
Saturday Foursomes Results
Hannah Burke and Melissa Reid (LET) halved with Shiho Oyama and Narita (JLPGA)
Sarah Kemp and Sarah Jane Smith (ALPG) halved with Sung Hyun Park and Min Sun Kim (KLPGA)
Ritsuko Ryu and Akane Iijima (JLPGA) beat Rachel Hetherington and Whitney Hillier (ALPG) 2&1
Yoon Ji Cho and Jung Min Lee (KLPGA) beat Marianne Skarpnord and Emily Kristine Pedersen (LET) 2 up
Ayaka Watanabe and Erika Kikuchi (JLPGA) beat Catriona Matthew and Gwladys Nocera (LET) 2&1
Jin Young Ko and Bo-Mee Lee (KLPGA) beat Lindsey Wright and Nikki Garrett (ALPG) 3&2
Karine Icher and Nanna Koertz Madsen (LET) beat Katherine Kirk and Nikki Campbell (ALPG) 4&3
Momoko Ueda and Erina Hara (JLPGA) beat Sei Young Kim and In Gee Chun (KLPGA) 5&4
Sunday Singles Pairings
Match 1 8:00 Misuzu Narita (JLPGA) V Catriona Matthew (LET)
Match 2 8:08 Whitney Hillier (ALPG) V Jin Young Ko (KLPGA)
Match 3 8:16 Laura Davies (LET) V Sarah Kemp (ALPG)
Match 4 8:24 Min Sun Kim (KLPGA) V Shiho Oyama (JLPGA)
Match 5 8:32 Akane Iijima (JLPGA) V Lindsey Wright (ALPG)
Match 6 8:40 Sei Young Kim (KLPGA) V Melissa Reid (LET)
Match 7 8:48 Stephanie Na (ALPG) V Seon Woo Bae (KLPGA)
Match 8 8:56 Gwladys Nocera (LET) V Erika Kikuchi (JLPGA)
Match 9 9:04 Sarah Jane Smith (ALPG) V Emily Kristine Pedersen (LET)
Match 10 9:12 Yoon Ji Cho (KLPGA) V Ayaka Watanabe (JLPGA)
Match 11 9:20 Hannah Burke (LET) V Bo-Mee Lee (KLPGA)
Match 12 9:28 Ritsuko Ryu (JLPGA) V Katherine Kirk (ALPG)
Match 13 9:36 Nanna Koerstz Madsen (LET) V In Gee Chun (KLPGA)
Match 14 9:44 Miki Sakai (JLPGA) V Nikki Campbell (ALPG)
Match 15 9:52 Karine Icher (LET) V Erina Hara (JLPGA)
Match 16 10:00 Jung Min Lee (KLPGA) V Nikki Garrett (ALPG)
Match 17 10:08 Rachel Hetherington (ALPG) V Marianne Skarpnord (LET)
Match 18 10:16 Sung Hyun Park (KLPGA) V Momoko Ueda (JLPGA)