The Korean LPGA Team made a clean sweep in their four-ball matches at Miyoshi Country Club on Friday to hold a healthy lead after the opening day of The Queens presented by Kowa in Japan.
“Today everyone was in great condition and we came out and posted some superb scores,” Kim said at a press conference afterwards, alongside the other captains representing the Korean, Japanese, Australian and Ladies European Tours.
The top ranked player, world no.19 Jin-Young Ko, from Korea, combined with Ji-Hyun Oh to post a 4 and 3 win over Australian Captain Karrie Webb and Hannah Green in the first of the four matches featuring Korean players.
The Korean captain Ha-Neul Kim and her playing partner Ji-Hyun Kim then won 1 up against the LPGA of Japan Captain Misuzu Narita and Mamiko Higa; Seon-Woo Bae and Jeong-Eun Lee defeated Olafia Kristinsdottir and Carly Booth of the Ladies European Tour and Ji-Hyun Kim and Hae-Rym Kim earned a 3 and 1 victory over Annabel Dimmock and Mel Reid.
Each win is worth two points and a halve is worth one point. The LPGA of Japan team won two and halved one of their four matches, meaning that they have five points, to Korea’s eight.
Captain Narita commented: “It was very windy this morning with difficult pin positions and today we had mixed results, although we all played our best.”
There were Japanese victories for Ritsuko Ryu and Lala Anai and for Yukari Nishiyama, playing with former captain Momoko Ueda, as well as a halve from the last match, featuring the JLPGA Order of Merit winner Ai Suzuki and Fumika Kawagishi, playing against Australians Katherine Kirk and Whitney Hillier, on her 27th birthday.
The halve produced the sole point for the ALPG Team and Webb said afterwards: “It feels good to be in the clubhouse because it was a very cold and windy day and the pins were difficult in those conditions. Out team fought hard and I think we got unlucky to only make a halve. I think our players played better that the result would suggest.”
Felicity Johnson and Lee-Anne Pace defeated Stacey Peters and Cathryn Bristow from the ALPG Team by 2 and 1 to register a victory, worth two points, for Captain Gwladys Nocera’s LET Team.
Johnson chipped in from the back of the 15th green to take the duo two up and they shook hands on the 17th.
Pace said: “We started off slowly and the wind was kind of tricky. They got two up on us because they made a lot of putts, but luckily Flic came in like a storm on the back nine and she saved us.”
Johnson added: “We made some good putts on the back nine and I made a couple of birdies in a row and then chipped in for eagle on 15, which was a big turning point. The wind was swirling, so that fooled us a little bit on the front nine. It was tough to get close to the pins, which were really tucked away.”
Captain Nocera, who rested on Friday, commented: “It was tough. Obviously, we hoped for better results but there were some really good games and it was tight; my players fought until the end. Felicity and Lee-Anne played well against the ALPG and it was a really high level of golf across the board.
“I’m enjoying being a captain. It’s hard to watch, because you want to help everybody and wish you could do more, but I’m asking the others to do their best and I’m doing my best for them.”
There are nine players per team and all 36 in the field will compete in the 18 singles matches, starting at 8.30am on Saturday.
After the second day, the teams will be ranked according to points earned and the first and second placed sides will face each other in the ‘Championship Final’ over four foursomes matches on Sunday, with another four foursomes matches to be played between the third and fourth ranked teams.