No.1 Korda leads top seed USA into LPGA International Crown

World number one Nelly Korda and Lilia Vu, fresh off her first major triumph, lead the top-seeded United States into the LPGA International Crown team event, which tees off Thursday.

TPC Harding Park will host the fourth edition of the eight-squad event, with competing nations and four-woman rosters based upon world rankings.

Players chase a $400,000 top prize from a $1.6 million purse.

The Americans will be in Pool A with Sweden, England and China. Defending champion South Korea will be joined in Pool B by Japan, Thailand and Australia.

Four-ball (best ball) matches will be staged Thursday through Saturday and the two top teams in each group advance to Sunday morning semi-finals, two singles matches and a foursomes (alternate shot) match. Those winners meet for the title in the same format in the afternoon.

The US squad features newcomers Korda, 16th-ranked Danielle Kang and world number four Vu — who won the Chevron Championship two weeks ago — plus four-time starter Lexi Thompson, ranked seventh.

Reigning Olympic champion Korda, 24, reclaimed the rankings summit after finishing third at Chevron and welcomes the chance to play for her nation once more.

“I think just, whenever you can, represent your country and do something different throughout the season,” Korda said.

“You’re playing for not just yourself but three other girls and the United States. I think it’s really meaningful and it’s bigger than just yourself, and I think it’s kind of nice to switch it up throughout the season.

“Golf, in a sense, you’re always like selfish, you’re always thinking about yourself, so it’s nice to throw in a team event.”

Vu is ready for the team test.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it. The course is difficult. I’ve played there before for (collegiate) regionals so I’m excited to go back there and kind of make up for what I did last time.”

Second-seeded South Korea with third-ranked Ko Jin-young, ninth-ranked Kim Hyo-joo, 12th-ranked Chun In-gee and 25th-ranked Choi Hye-jin.

Chun has won three major titles and Kim has won one. Ko has won two plus the past two HSBC Women’s World Championships in Singapore.

Top-ranked players on other rosters include Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, Sweden’s Maja Stark, England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul, Australia’s Minjee Lee and China’s Lin Xiyu.

Teams were selected based on last year’s season-ending world rankings but exact rosters were chosen based on the rankings of April 3.

Spain won the inaugural event in 2014 with the United States taking the 2016 title on home soil and South Korea winning the 2018 crown on home soil.

A planned 2020 tournament in England was wiped out by Covid-19 and the event makes its comeback this week.


© Agence France-Presse

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