Korean, Japanese women to resume golf rivalry

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Korean, Japanese women to resume golf rivalry

Top women golfers from Korea and Japan will tee off in Busan this weekend in a revival of the two countries’ rivalry, the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association said yesterday.

The two-day event with a mouthful of a name - the KB Financial Group Cup Korea-Japan Women’s National Golf Team Match Play Competition - will pit 13 Korean and 13 Japanese pros at the Bayside Golf Club in Ilgwang, Gijang County, starting Saturday.

The event dates back to 1999 and Korea leads the series with five victories, three losses and two draws. It was not held the past two years.

The total purse of this weekend’s event is 61.5 million yen ($748,086), with each member of the winning team getting 3 million yen.

Many star players from the LPGA and JLPGA will represent Korea, including four of the LPGA’s top 10 money winners: Park In-bee, Choi Na-yeon, Shin Ji-yai and Ryu So-yeon.

Jeon Mi-jeong, who led the JLPGA in earnings and has 20 career wins on the circuit, will play for Korea. Lee Bo-mee, the JLPGA’s second leading money winner, is also on the Korean roster.

The cream of the KLPGA circuit will also play, including Kim Ha-neul, the circuit’s top money winner for two straight years, and three other top money leaders - Kim Char-young, Heo Yoon-kyung and Yang Soo-jin.

Yuri Fudoh, who has 50 career victories on the JLPGA, will lead Japan along with top money winners Sakura Yokomine, Hiromi Mogi and Yukari Baba.

In previous events, the format of the competition had been a two-round, stroke play, in which each of the players of a country played a one-on-one, 18-hole round against an opponent each a day.

Each win by a player was counted as two points and a draw one point. The country with the most combined points after two days won the title.

The rule was revised for this year’s event, with the first round combining three foursome games and three fourball games, in which the lower of the each country’s two players on each hole is counted.

Twelve players of each country will make six two-person teams for the first-round competitions. The second round will retain a stroke format. It will also feature 12 players for each country.

The 2010 event was not held when the corporate sponsors pulled out. The 2011 event scheduled to be held in Thailand was cancelled because of massive flooding.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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