England’s two rookies in the UL International Crown team, British women’s Open champion Georgia Hall, and Bronte Law can’t wait for the action to start when they take on Australia in their opening match on Thursday. Jodi Ewart Shadoﬀ and Charley Hull who both played in 2016 make up the quartet.
The event is a team match-play competition featuring the top eight countries determined by the combined Rolex World Golf Rankings of the top four players. There are three days of four-ball matches with ﬁve countries advancing to the Sunday singles.
Law, a graduate of UCLA and rookie on the LPGA Tour, said making the team had been one of goals all year. She said:” I love team golf – the camaraderie and going head-to-head rather than playing in a big stroke play ﬁeld. I like to look my opponents in the eye and try and intimidate them.”
All four English players grew up playing match play in representative golf. “Playing for England instead of Europe is going to be fun” said three-time Solheim Cup player Hull.
With no designated team captains this week, all eight nations have enjoyed the decision-making process. The England players were tight-lipped on the pairings for the Australia contest but Hall admitted it was preferable to play alongside a friend, a partner she was comfortable with.
She added:” It took us about 10 hours to decide on our team song as we had so many options but we got there in the end!”
On a more serious note the 22-year-old said playing in front of the huge crowds would be interesting. Ticket sales have been phenomenal with up to 90,000 expected to attend the event – the ﬁrst to be played outside the USA.
A crucial clash against the No 1 ranked team and hosts, Korea, awaits on Saturday but Hall remained typically unfazed at the prospect of playing in front of partisan spectators saying:” We’ll just stay in our own bubble but it’s important to concentrate on the ﬁrst two matches against Australia and Chinese Taipei.”
One aspect the team were unanimous about was how they’d been inspired by the English players in the victorious Ryder Cup team. Ewart Shadoﬀ was unbeaten in 2016 and believes this format is less intense than the Solheim Cup.
She said: “English golf is a high point right now and I hope we can also do well and raise the proﬁle in the UK. We’ve had a good practise round and the course is really great for match play with a couple of par-4’s you can go for. We’ve been pretty set on who we’ll be playing with for a while and with only four of us it’s been easy to organise ourselves.”
Spain won the inaugural tournament in 2014 with a powerful American line up coming from behind to triumph at Merit Club in Chicago two years later when the Spanish failed to qualify. Up for grabs is a prize fund of $1.6 million USD with the team ﬁnishing eighth picking up $30,000 each.
Situated about 40 miles west of the capital, Seoul, the Jack Nicklaus GC was opened in 2010 hosting notable events including the 2015 Presidents Cup (won by the USA) and the 2012 Korea Women’s Open, won by In Gee Chun.
Pool A – England vs. Australia
9:15 a.m. – Charley Hull/Georgia Hall (ENG) vs. Minjee Lee/Sarah Jane Smith (AUS)
9:30 a.m. – Bronte Law/Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG) vs. Katherine Kirk/Su Oh (AUS)
Pool B – Japan vs. Thailand
9:45 a.m. – Nasa Hataoka/Ayako Uehara (JPN) vs. Moriya Jutanugarn/Pornanong Phatlum (THA)
10 a.m. – Misuzu Narita/Mamiko Higa (JPN) vs. Ariya Jutanugarn/Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (THA)
Pool B – United States vs. Sweden
10:15 a.m. – Cristie Kerr/Lexi Thompson (USA) vs. Pernilla Lindberg/Madelene Sagstrom (SWE)
10:30 a.m. – Jessica Korda/Michelle Wie (USA) vs. Anna Nordqvist/Caroline Hedwall (SWE)
Pool A – Republic of Korea vs. Chinese Taipei
10:45 a.m. – Sung Hyun Park/In-Kyung Kim (KOR) vs. Candie Kung/Phoebe Yao (TPE)
11 a.m. – In Gee Chun/So Yeon Ryu (KOR) vs. Teresa Lu/Wei-Ling Hsu (TPE)