Korea has tightened its stranglehold on the Queen Sirikit Cup-Asia-Pacific Amateur Ladies’ Golf Team Championship.
The Korean team accelerated to the front from the opening day of the event, staged from May 10-12, and held on to seize victory by three shots from host nation China at the Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Golf Club. Japan was third.
This was Korea’s 10th triumph in the past 11 years – only Australia in 2013 in New Zealand broke their run of successes – and the country’s 19th title from the 39 tournaments contested.
The individual title also went to Korea with Hye-jin Choi collecting the title in a play-off.
This latest edition of the Cup attracted 13 teams from the 14 member nations, with only Myanmar absent.
It was played in mixed weather, with light rain, winds and benign conditions all prevailing on Shuangshan Island off Zhangjiagang City in the Jiangsu Province of China.
Strong winds during the opening round resulted in just one sub-par score – a 71 by Korea’s So-mi Lee – compared to 13 sub-par rounds on the second day when the weather was near perfect for golf.
Two players, Korea’s Hye-jin Choi and Taiwan’s Yu-Sang Hou, returned the lowest score of 67 on day two. The final round saw a lower score of 65 made by two players, China’s Liu Wenbo and Philippines’ Yuka E. Saso.
After regulation play in the individual event two players, Hye-jin Choi and Liu Wenbo, finished tied at seven under the card on 209 and headed into a play-off at the par five 18th.
The Chinese player pulled her tee shot to the left off the fairway and had to chip out from under a tree which led to a bogey six while Hye-jin Choi, who was second in last year’s championship in Korea, played safe to make a regulation par and become the individual winner with scores of 73-67-69.
Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand finished two shots back after shooting 75-68-68 and was third.
A hole-in-one was another highlight from Liu when, on the final round, she aced the par-three second hole.
In the team event, Korea led the first round with the total two best combined scores of 144, followed by Japan and China on 146. Australia and Thailand were tied at 149.
In the second round, Korea moved away to be eight under par on 280, ahead of Japan, five shots back at three under and China which was level with the card.
Thailand moved into fourth spot at two over followed by Taiwan one shot back.
In the final round Korea continued to set the pace finishing with a team total of 420 – 12 under par. China displayed commendable determination to finish runner-up on 423 with Japan third on 425.
Tournament-wise, the Organising Committee produced a well-conducted Championship with the support from the APGC’s referee team and staff from Miramar Sports Ltd and Shuangshan Golf Club.
The R&A, who provided an accommodation grant for all the teams, was represented by Dominic Wall, Director for Asia-Pacific, while the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation’s Vice Chairman, Kei Muratsu, and Board members Nicki Hirayama, Dato Rabeahtul Abbas and Rae-Vadee T. Suwan were all present to oversee the tournament’s smooth operation.
Thailand Ladies Golf Association will host the 40th anniversary of the Championship in May 2018 in Hua Hin, Thailand.