Minjee Lee, Katherine Kirk, Sarah Jane Smith and Su Oh will represent Australia at the UL International Crown, an international biennial team competition to be held from October 4-7 at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon City.
Team Australia will be the fifth seed for the event, while the remaining seven countries that have qualified to compete, in order of seeding, are Korea, USA, Japan, England, Thailand, Sweden and Chinese Taipei.
Lee and Kirk had long been guaranteed their positions on the team by virtue of their positions on the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, however Smith and Oh have had to endure a nerve-racking past few weeks, at one stage just ten spots separated themselves and West Australian Hannah Green in the rankings.
Oh had put herself in the box seat after a number of strong finishes on the LPGA Tour in May and June which saw her move clear of both Smith and Green in the rankings, and with the final spot in the team on the line the Queenslander timed her run to perfection sealing her spot with an 11th place finish at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship over the weekend.
Both Oh and Smith were assisted by Green who had made an electric start to her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, however the 21-year-old has struggled for form in recent months having not finished inside the top-40 since the ANA Inspiration in March and sealed her own fate with missed cuts in each of the final two qualifying events.
Sarah Jane Smith was clearly delighted in making the Australian Team for the first time in 2018, quoting on Twitter “CAN NOT WAIT!!!! looking forward to representing Australia with these awesome ladies”
Minjee Lee will represent Australia for the third successive time this year and was equally excited “Can’t wait to represent Australia for the UL International Crown in Korea this year”
The hosts and event favourites Korea will be represented by Inbee Park, SeoRyu, Sung Hyun Park and In-Kyung Kim, all former major champions.
The other team line-ups are:
USA – Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Cristie Kerr, Michelle Wie.
Japan – Nasa Hataoka, Ai Suzuki, Misuzu Narita, Mamiko Higa
England – Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Bronte Law
Thailand – Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn, Pornanong Phatlum, Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong
Sweden – Anna Nordqvist, Pernilla Lindberg, Madelene Sagstrom, Caroline Hedwall
Chinese Taipei – Teresa Lu, Wei-Ling Hsu, Hsuan-Yu Yao, Candie Kung
History of UL International Crown
The UL International Crown is a biennial women’s professional team golf tournament on the LPGA Tour, played in even-numbered years. Eight national teams of four players each (32 players in total) participate in the match play event.
The International Crown debuted in 2014 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland, a suburb northwest of Baltimore. With selection based on the world rankings of individuals, the eight nations were announced the previous November: Australia, Chinese Taipei, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States. Teams were divided into two pools and played round robin fourball for three days. The top five teams (20 players) advanced to the ten singles matches on Sunday, with each nation facing the other four. Spain won all four singles matches to win the title with a total of fifteen points; Sweden split its matches to finish in second with eleven points.
The second edition in 2016 took place at the Merit Club in Gurnee, Illinois, north of Chicago. The top two finishers from 2014, champion Spain and runner-up Sweden, did not qualify for 2016 and were replaced by China and England. The United States won the 2016 International Crown with 13 points, winning three out of four singles matches on Sunday with South Korea finishing second with 12 points.