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Mixed start for US at team golf event, South Korea perfect

October 4, 2018
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Cristie Kerr of the United States watches her shot on the first hole during the first round of the UL International Crown golf tournament at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, in Incheon, South Korea, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — The United States had a mixed start on the opening day of the UL International Crown team golf tournament on Thursday, splitting the fourballs against Sweden, while favorite South Korea collected a maximum four points with two wins over Taiwan.

Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson gave the U.S. a winning start in the eight-nation, 32-player tournament against Pernilla Lindberg and Madelene Sagstrom to win 2-up.

“It wasn’t pretty today, I didn’t contribute that much,” Kerr said, crediting Thompson. “When I was out of it, she picked me up and I did the same on the few holes I was able to contribute.”

The defending champion’s other pairing, Michelle Wie and Jessica Korda, had a disastrous start, however, and was 4 down after five holes against Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall. The American pair rallied to become all square by the 13th hole, only to lose 2-up.

“We had such a good start but they made a good run,” Nordqvist said. “There are some tough holes out there and we just kept trying. It was a bit of a struggle out there on some holes but we won on the 14th and that was important. Overall, it was a tough match.”

The results left the U.S. and Sweden with two points each.

After three days of fourballs, the top two teams from each pool and one wild-card team progress to the singles event on Sunday with the team collecting the most points over the four days taking the title. Teams get two points for a win and one if the match is halved.

Due to fears that Typhoon Kong-rey could hit the Korean peninsula over the weekend, organizers hope to complete two rounds on Friday in an attempt to finish the tournament on Saturday.

Only host South Korea collected four points, although the top-seeded team had a tough time against eighth-seeded Taiwan.

Cheered on by the home crowd at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Seoul, world No.1 Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim defeated Candie Kung and Phoebe Yao, 1 up. So Yeon Ryu and In Gee Kim overcame Teresa Lu and Wei-Ling Hsu, 2 up.

Soth Korea tops Pool A with England second.

The fourth-seeded England team took three of four points from fifth-seeded Australia, with Bronte Law and Jodie Ewart Shadoff birdieing the fourth and fifth holes to move ahead against Katherine Kirk and Su Oh. Successive birdies from Shadoff on the ninth and 10th holes extended the lead before both Kirk and Oh bogeyed 15 to give the English a 4 and 3 win.

The other game between England’s Charley Hull and Georgia Hall and Australia’s Minjee Lee and Sarah Jane Smith ended all square.

In Pool B, sixth-seeded Thailand moved into first by taking three points against third-seeded Japan.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong beat Misuzu Narita and Mamiko Higa 2 and 1. Japan salvaged a point against Moriya Jutanugarn and Pornanong Phatlum thanks to a birdie on No. 18 that halved the game.

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