Carlota Ciganda breezed to an early victory to set the tone as Spain won all four of their singles matches on Sunday to capture the inaugural LPGA International Crown team event.
Sweden finished second in the tournament that began on Thursday with 32 players from eight countries. The top-seeded US were among three teams eliminated on Saturday, leaving five countries and 20 players to compete for the trophy.
Fifth-seeded Spain began the final round tied for second behind Japan, but Ciganda immediately gave Spain a boost by beating Choi Na-yeon of South Korea 8 and 6. Beatriz Recari followed with a 3-and-2 victory over Mikaela Parmlid of Sweden, and Belen Mozo clinched the tournament title with a 3-and-2 win over Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand.
That set off an impromptu celebration on the 16th hole that began with a jubilant Recari jumping into the arms of Ciganda.
Azahara Munoz completed the sweep by beating Ai Miyazato of Japan 2 and 1.
Points accumulated through Saturday were added to those amassed on Sunday. Using the scoring system of two points for a win and one for a tie, the final order was: Spain (15 points), Sweden (11), South Korea (10), Japan (10), Thailand (9), US (6), Taiwan (4) and Australia (3).
“Even though we were maybe the underdogs because of the seedings, I knew deep inside that what you need in a team championship is what we have,” Mozo said. “We have always played together, we have always won together. Coming in, we knew we had that advantage over the other teams.”
Japan entered the final round with a one-point lead, but lost three of four matches, their lone win coming when Mika Miyazato beat Onnarin Sattayabanphot of Thailand 3 and 1.
Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg topped Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand 6 and 5, taking the lead for good at No. 1 and winning at 10, 11 and 12 to pull away. However, the Swedes’ bid to win the tournament fizzled when Caroline Hedwall lost to South Korea’s Inbee Park 4 and 2.
Although Sweden did not win the trophy, at least one team member left with a fond memory.
“I’ve gotten to show myself on the biggest stage that I’ve been on so far and it feels like I’ve really take advantage of that,” said Lindberg, 28, who was playing in her first matchplay event.
“It’s been so much fun, just over expectations for everyone,” she added.
Park, meanwhile, rode the momentum generated by Saturday’s wildcard playoff win over the US to breeze past Hedwall.
That left South Korea with at least an outside shot of capturing the event.
“It was important to win the first match. It kind of gives everyone hope and some energy to play well,” Park said.
That was how it worked for Spain. Alas, South Korea could not sustain the momentum.
Not long after Park won, Choi walked off the course after 12 holes in her mismatch against Ciganda, and South Korea’s chances grew even dimmer when I.K. Kim lost to Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand 1 up.
Ryu So-yeon’s 1-up win over Sakura Yokomine of Japan left South Korea at 2-2 for the afternoon.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first