Park In-bee’s win carries Korea to 3rd-place finish

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Park In-bee’s win carries Korea to 3rd-place finish

Team Korea led by Park In-bee finished the International Crown in third while Spain won all four of its singles matches Sunday to capture first place.

Park rode the momentum generated by Saturday’s wild-card playoff win over the United States to breeze past Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall. That left South Korea with at least an outside shot of capturing the event.

“It was important to win the first match. It kind of gives everyone hope and some energy to play well,’’ Park said.

That’s how it worked for Spain. Alas, South Korea could not sustain the momentum.

Not long after Park won, Choi walked off the course after 12 holes in her mismatch against Ciganda, and South Korea’s chances grew even dimmer when I.K. Kim lost to Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand 1 up.

Ryu So-yeon’s 1-up win over Sakura Yokomine of Japan left South Korea at 2-2 for the afternoon.

Sweden finished second in the tournament that began Thursday with 32 players from eight countries. The top-seeded United States was among three teams eliminated Saturday, leaving five countries and 20 players to compete for the trophy.

Fifth-seeded Spain began the final round tied for second behind Japan, but Carlota Ciganda immediately gave the Spaniards a boost by beating Choi Na-yeon of South Korea 8 and 6. Beatriz Recari followed with a 3-and-2 victory over Mikaela Parmlid of Sweden, and Belen Mozo clinched the tournament title with a 3-and-2 win over Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand.

That set off an impromptu celebration on the 16th hole that began with a jubilant Recari jumping into the arms of Ciganda.

Azahara Munoz completed the sweep by beating Ai Miyazato of Japan 2 and 1.

Points accumulated through Saturday were added to those amassed Sunday. Using the scoring system of two points for a win and one for a tie, the final order was: Spain (15 points), Sweden (11), South Korea (10), Japan (10), Thailand (9), United States (6), Taiwan (4) and Australia (3).

“Even though we were maybe the underdogs because of the seedings, I knew deep inside that what you need in a team championship is what we have,’’ Mozo said. “We have always played together, we have always won together. Coming in, we knew we had that advantage over the other teams.’’

Japan entered the final round with a one-point lead but lost three of four matches, its lone win coming when Mika Miyazato beat Onnarin Sattayabanphot of Thailand 3 and 1.

Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg topped Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand 6 and 5, taking the lead for good at No. 1 and winning at 10, 11 and 12 to pull away.

AP




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