Perth, Australia, December 9, 2007 – Team Asia’s Seon Hwa Lee (KOR) has developed a dominating presence over the Lexus Cup competition pitting the Asians against a stellar Team International cast.
For two years consecutively, the HSBC World Matchplay champion secured the winning point for Team Asia. This time, the scalpel fell on US Open champion Cristie Kerr (USA) as she failed to hole her birdie putt on the par 3 16th at the Vines Resort & Country Club’s Lakes Course. This brings Lee’s Lexus Cup tally to an impressive 6-0-0.
“I think it’s down to luck because first and foremost, I’ve got good teammates who’ve helped me score points. I’ve practiced hard of course but I’m also lucky to be in the position to win the tournament,” said Lee.
“Also, having some younger players around this year made things more comfortable,” she continued.
Compatriot Jee Young Lee (KOR) drew first blood when she outlasted Nicole Castrale (USA) in Match 2 after Team International captain Annika Sorenstam (SWE) overwhelmed Candie Kung (TWN) 2-and-1.
Lexus Cup debutant In-Kyung Kim (KOR) also had a memorable outing here in Perth when she got paired with team captain and Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak (KOR) for a winning two days and kept her composure to beat Stacy Prammanasudh (USA) 2-and-1.
While Seon Hwa Lee’s victory in Match 5 may have secured Team Asia’s victory, the other matches continued to remain fiercely competitive with three matches going all the way.
Ayako Uehara (JPN) and Catriona Matthew (SCO) fought tooth-and-nail throughout with the experienced Scot comfortably ahead by two at the front nine. The Solheim Cup veteran then dropped points at 10 and 11 before Uehara turned up the heat with a sensational approach to 3-feet to halve the hole at 16.
Leading by one, the Japanese need only halve the 18th to win but came up short of the green with Matthew on in two. She lost the hole but saved a half-point for Team Asia in a sensational finish to their match.
Brittany Lincicome (USA) redeemed some pride for Team International in her battle with Meena Lee (KOR). The American and ex-HSBC World Matchplay winner came out firing and led by two within the first three holes. Lee scrambled back with pars at 15 and 16 to take a 1-up lead but lost the next two holes to the gutsy world number 16 for the match.
Team International vice-captain Natalie Gulbis (USA) had the better of Korean golfing prodigy Ji Yai Shin leading by as much as three at the 14th before dropping shots at 15, 17 and 18 to half her match.
Shin, sporting a painted face with the word ‘Asia’ on one side, jokingly attributed Team Asia’s monumental win to the new look, “The visual effects gave us an edge.”
She went on to explain the true intent of the war paint, “We’ve all got beautiful faces and wanted to capture the interest of the fans. Hopefully, this will be good for women’s golf.”
Team Asia captain Pak, who sat out today and cheered for the team from outside the ropes could not have hoped for a better side.
“Se Ri has handed the group very well and I think our fighting spirit is stronger than the internationals. We got here earlier, played and planned our strategy together,” said Taiwan’s Amy Hung.
Pak contemplated a year where she’s made Hall of Fame and now winning captain of the Lexus Cup, “There was a lot of pressure, not just thinking what’s best for me but also the other 11 players. It’s hard to make everyone understand as a team but I’m glad we pulled through. Basically, as captain, this is a great team, a strong team. I’ve really enjoyed this group.”
“This is probably the best week (for me) in 2007,” enthused Pak