SEOUL (Reuters) – England moved to the top of Pool A in the LPGA’s International Crown team event by beating Taiwan in both second round four-ball matches on Friday, with hosts South Korea dropping into second spot after recording a win and a loss against Australia.
The United States lead Pool B on six points after the defending champions blanked Thailand in their two early matches, while Sweden sit two points behind following a split of their games against Japan.
The four-day biennial event, which is being held at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, west of Seoul, pits four players from eight countries against each other.
Tee-times were moved up to early morning on Friday in a bid to avoid the worst of the weather from approaching Typhoon Kong-rey, though conditions were far from easy as heavy rain fell steadily throughout.
England’s Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart Shadoff looked at ease in the rain, however, thumping Taiwanese pair Candie Kung and Phoebe Yao 6&4, before Charley Hull and British Open champion Georgia Hall won 2&1 against Hsu Wei-ling and Teresa Lu.
“It was playing much longer,” said Ewart Shadoff. “There was a couple of par-4s that weren’t reachable, so that was interesting. But it’s match play, so it doesn’t really matter.
“Obviously not as many birdies as yesterday, but I think pars win holes today given the rain.”
England are on seven points after three wins and a tie, with Korea a point behind.
After helping the hosts win both their matches against Taiwan on the opening day, Kim In-kyung and Park Sung-hyun failed to find a spark on Friday and went down 3&2 to Australians Katherine Kirk and Su Oh.
Ryu So-yeon and Chun In-gee saved the day for the favourites with a 2&1 victory over Minjee Lee and Sarah Jane Smith.
After a quick lunch, the players were sent straight back out to begin their third round ties due to concerns that the weather could play havoc with the schedule over the weekend.
Park and Kim won the first five holes against England’s Hull and Hall and were four-up through eight when play was suspended for the day due to failing light.
Chun and Ryu trailed Law and Ewart Shadoff by one through six holes, while Australia were up in both matches against Taiwan.
In Pool B, all four teams were leading in one match and trailing in the other.
The top two teams from both groups as well as a wild card winner advance to a singles final round on Sunday.
(Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by John O’Brien)