|Team KLPGA poses for pictures with the winning trophy and medals after victory over the American-based Team LPGA at the Orange Life Champions Trophy Park In-bee Invitational, held at Blue One The Honors Country Club at Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, Sunday. Yonhap|
By Kim Jeong-kyoo
Team KLPGA routed the American-based opposition with a 15-9 victory at the Orange Life Champions Trophy Park In-bee Invitational, Sunday.
Team KLPGA had a three-point lead over Team LPGA after Friday's fourballs and Saturday's foursomes at the par-72 6,484-yard BlueOne The Honors Country Club at Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province.
Team KLPGA went on to win seven of 12 singles matches, Sunday to seal a pleasurable six-point victory.
In total 26 players, 13 from each team, competed over three days, first in fourball followed by foursomes and singles matches. Team LPGA comprised South Korean golfers or those of Korean descent playing on the LPGA Tour in the US.
The LPGA's Lee Jeoung-eun6 and KLPGA's Kim A-lim secured the MVP award. Team LPGA received 700 million won in prize money while Team KLPGA took home 500 million won.
In the first day's fourball matches Friday, the KLPGA built a one-point lead over the LPGA with a score of 3½-2½. The two most outstanding and valuable players were the LPGA's Ko Jin-young and the KLPGA's Lim Hee-jeong.
In the second day's foursomes (or alternate shot), Team KLPGA beat out the LPGA Tour crew 3-1. The former extended the lead to three points after winning three of six matches against the LPGA Tour.
In the spotlight on Saturday was the duel between the KLPGA Tour's No. 1 Choi Hye-jin-Lim Hee-jeong duo and the Park In-bee-Danielle Kang pair. Making the turn with a 1-up lead, The KLPGA duo birdied the 10th by Choi, 12th, and 16th by Lim, claiming a 4-and-2 victory.
Similarly, the match between Ko Jin-young-Ryu So-yeon team and the KLPGA's Rookie of the Year award winner Cho A-yean-Kim Ji-hyun duo attracted attention. Ryu-Ko pulled off an eagle by Ko on the par-5 fourth, reeling in birdies on the sixth and seventh, going 3 up. On the back nine, Ryu-Ko team birdied the 10th and the KLPGA team rattled off a lone birdie on the 13th by Cho. The LPGA's Ryu and Ko won the match, 3 and 2.
The KLPGA's Kim A-lim and Park Min-ji duo defeated the LPGA's Lee Jeong-eun6 and Hur Mi-Jung team, 4 and 3.
The two teams went into Sunday's singles with a 7½-4½ lead on the KLPGA team.
Stimulating curiosity on the final day was the match between the LPGA's Lee Jeong-eun6 and the KLPGA's Cho A-yean. Lee won the Rookie of the Year award on the LPGA Tour and Cho on the KLPGA Tour.
Lee halved the first and third holes with a birdie before taking the initiative with a conceded birdie on the par-5 fourth where Cho made a three-putt par. Lee had a conceded birdie on the par-5 sixth after a perfect approach within a foot, Cho responding with a birdie to hang on.
The balance tipped in Lee's favor when she birdied the par-4 seventh and par-3 eighth to take a 3-up lead before making the turn. Lee was perfect from tee to green, turning the fight into a one-sided affair, with Cho outclassed throughout. Cho started struggling badly with her game on the back nine.
Lee had a 4-up lead with a birdie on the 10th, which turned sour on the next hole when Cho rattled off a birdie. Lee birdied the par-3 13th to go 4 up before beating out Cho with a 5&4 rout when the latter missed a par putt on the par-3 15th.
The battle between the World's No.1 KoJin-young and South Korea's No. 1 Choi Hye-jin highlighted the singles showdowns. In the rain, Ko took the initiative in the battle as she rattled off a birdie on the par-3 second after an accurate tee shot. She rattled off three birdies in a row including a chip-in birdie on the third to go 3 up while Choi struggled badly with her game.
Ko extended her lead to four points with a birdie on the par-4 seventh before reaching the turn. The fight on the front nine was a one-sided affair, with Ko outshining Choi throughout.
Choi birdied the 10th to win the hole and decrease her 4-stroke deficit to three points. However, Ko birdied the par-5 14th to go 4 up, making the match dormie. Ko beat out Choi, 5 and 3, when Choi missed her birdie attempt off the fringe on the 15th.
Here is a match-by-match report of Sunday's singles.
Match 1: Lydia Ko (LPGA) def. Cho Jeong-min (KLPGA), 3 and 2
Match 2: Kim Ji-hyun (KLPGA) def. Shin Ji-eun (LPGA), 2 and 1
Match 3: Jang Ha-na (KLPGA) def. Danielle Kang (LPGA), 2 and 1
Match 4: Lee Jeong-eun6 (LPGA) def. Cho A-yean (KLPGA), 5 and 4
Match 5: Park Min-ji (KLPGA) def. Yang Hee-young (LPGA), 1 up
Match 6: Ji Eun-hee (LPGA) def. Kim Ji-young2 (KLPGA), 1 up
Match 7: Kim A-lim (KLPGA) def. Ryu So-yeon (LPGA), 4 and 2
Match 8: Park Chae-yoon (KLPGA) def.Hur Mi-jung (LPGA), 3 and 2
Match 9: Lee Da-yeon (KLPGA) def. Lee Mi-hyang (LPGA), 3 and 2
Match 10: Kim Hyo-joo (LPGA) as Choi Ye-rim (KLPGA)
Match 11: Lim Hee-jeong (KLPGA) def. Lee Min-ji (LPGA), 2 and 1
Match 12: KoJin-young (LPGA) def. Choi Hye-jin (KLPGA), 5 and 3