Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole on Thursday to give last-seed Taiwan a stunning sweep over the top-seeded US at the LPGA International Crown matches.
Tseng’s clutch putt gave her and Phoebe Yao (姚宣榆) a one-up victory over world No. 1 Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson, after Teresa Lu (盧曉晴) and Candie Kung (龔怡萍) ripped Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr four and three.
“I feel like the old Yani is back,” the five-time major winner and former world No. 1 said. “I haven’t had this feeling for a long time. I’m pumped up because I’m playing for my country.”
The US never led at any point in any match on day one of the showdown for global bragging rights between eight national teams of four women each.
“It wasn’t like we played horrible,” Creamer said. “But they made birdies and putts they needed, and we couldn’t get anything to fall.”
After three days of four-ball matches, singles matches tomorrow are to decide the US$1.6 million event at the 6,628-yard Caves Valley Golf Club.
However, a US team boasting four of the world’s top-12 players, as many as in the entire rest of the field, was in last place after being humbled 4-0 by Taiwan.
Tseng birdied three of the first six holes for a two-up lead, but missed a two-foot par putt at eight to surrender the hole, but Yao sank a clutch 12-foot birdie putt to halve 12 and a birdie to win the par-three 13th.
Lewis birdied 16 to square the match, only setting the stage for Tseng’s winner.
Lu birdied the par-three third, eagled the par-five fourth, birdied the par-five 12th and birdied 15 to clinch the match.
“I don’t know how [I did it], but the clubs were good,” 44th-ranked Lu said.
Japan beat Sweden 3-1, the Europeans never leading in either match as Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine beat Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmalid two-up, and Mika Miyazato and Mamiko Higa halved with Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall.
Australia and South Korea split, as top world amateur Minjee Lee joined seven-time major winner Karrie Webb for a two-up win over I.K. Kim and Choi Na-yeon, while four-time major winner Inbee Park and Ryu So-yeon beat Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright 3 and 2.
Spain defeated Thailand 3-1 as Azahara Munoz and Carlotta Ciganda beat Onnarin Sattayabanphot and Pornanong Phatlum four and two, while Thai sisters Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn halved with Belen Mozo and Beatriz Recari.
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