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Korean Women`s Golf Team Edges Japan

Posted December. 05, 2004 23:17,   


The Korean women’s golf "Dream Team" clinched their third winning championship streak.

In the final of the second round of the Fifth Pinx Cup Korea Japan Women’s Golf Rivalry Competition (total prize money: 42 million yen) held in Ostu CC (par 72) in Shiga, Japan on December 5, Korea, after trailing by four shots in the first round (the hole match), outscored Japan in 12 games (the stroke match) to tally eight wins, two draws, and two losses and captured a turn-around victory by a 28-20 score as the Korean team notched its third consecutive win in a row.

Unlike the hole match, which could produce unusual results, the difference in strategies of the two teams was distinctively revealed in the stroke matches. Japan, even with its best-selected members, wasn`t good enough for a Korean team packed with top players on the LPGA tour, including Pak Se-ri who confirmed her position in the Hall of Fame.

The Korean team led with at least eight members throughout the match, and the 20 year-old "Daily Best" Kim Cho-rong (prize money: 500.000 yen) bundled off a six-under-par 66 to keep the victory and made the score even (15 points). With the upswing, the Korean team captain Goh Woo-soon (Honma), victorious for two consecutive days, turned the match around and successfully blocked the opponent to make it equal as the Koreans delivered a complete victory.

The highlight of the match focused on the final group as Pak Se-ri faced 19 year-old Japanese teen superstar Miazato Ayi.

In the team meeting for the second-round group drawn up after the prior days match, Pak volunteered to face Miazato, who is a opponent who brings great pressure with thousands of fans in the galleries, and beat Japan`s best despite bad conditions, including a wrist injury.

Pak Se-ri, who continuously teed off with a number three wood, committed a streak of bogies on the 16th and 17th holes due to a loss of strength in the last minute, but after confirming Miazato`s second shot, which fell into a bunker in the 18th hole (par 4), Pak safely implemented a two-on par save from three meters out and concluded the match.

Miazato commented, "Pak Se-ri was just an incredible player. Her condition didn`t seem good, but she succeeded in putts in every match point with great concentration. I`ve learned a lot."

Park Ji-eun (Nike Golf), who joined the team the afternoon prior due to her individual schedule, added a precious victory for the Korean team despite the lack of practice rounds on the course. Park Ji-eun drew laughter when she was questioned in a official interview by a Japanese reporter, "What makes the Korean women’s golf so strong?" when she responded, "Kimchi power."

Goh Woo-soon, who took the captain’s role for the first time, said, "Although we were four points behind yesterday, I was convinced that we could win since the Korean team with bunches of top ranked players in the LPGA holds advantages in stroke play."

The competition`s MVP award (one million yen) was given to Han Hee-won (Fila Korea), who earned two victories. For this, Han pocketed 3.75 million yen including a two-win bonus (750,000 yen) and two million yen, which is presented to the players of the winning team.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com