Korea soar to record 16th Queen Sirikit Cup

2014 Queen Sirikit Cup winner South Korea ©eddieputera|TCH
2014 Queen Sirikit Cup winner South Korea ©eddieputera|TCH

Subang: South Korea turned the tables on overnight leaders Philippines to clinch a record 16th crown at the 36th Asia Pacific Ladies Invitational Golf Team Championship for the Queen Sirikit Cup at Saujana Golf & Country Club on Friday.

The East Asian powerhouse comprising of Gyeol Park, Lee So-young and Choi Hye-jin amassed 425 strokes for a six-stroke victory – making amends for their single-shot defeat to Australia at last year’s edition in Chinese Taipei.

With the consistent Lee digging deep to put a three-under 69 on the scoreboard, fellow debutant Choi carded her personal best of 70 for a daily team score of 139, edging out China (143) and the Philippines (145) to finish in a share for second.

China equalled their best-ever finish in the history of the competition, thanks to an impressive three-day performance by individual champion Shi Yuting, who notched rounds of 70, 68 and 71 for a seven-under 209 total.

Philippines, looking to claim their maiden victory in the championship, came up short with Claire Amelia P Legaspi (76) and Pauline Del Rosario (78) failing to bolster a one-under 71 effort by South East Asia (SEA) Games champion Princess Mary Superal.

Hannah Green and Shelly Shin notched matching 69s to lift Australia to fourth place on 435, three clear of Japan.

On the domestic front, Malaysia settled for 12th placing, with the trio of Nur Durriyah Damian, Diane Luke Jia Zhen and Kelie Kan Kah Yan totalling 460 overall.

The Koreans justified their pre-tournament favourite tag and their overall team depth proved to be the deciding factor, with all three players contributing to the team on any given day.

“We are very proud and honoured to continue South Korea’s winning tradition in this storied championship. The result speaks for itself and each member of our team contributed to the cause, especially Lee who stood out for us this week. Even our youngest team member, Choi came back strongly with a contributing score on the final day, so it was great team effort,” said Park.

“We knew we had to make up a two-shot deficit but we did not want to think about our competitors. We stayed focus on our own game, gave it our best and I believe we left nothing behind on the golf course,” said Lee.

Meanwhile, up-and-coming Chinese starlet Shi was elated with her first major victory outside of home soil as she finished with a two-shot advantage over Chinese Taipei’s Ssu-chia Cheng and Korea’s Lee.

“I struggled with the heat throughout the week but my putting was brilliant. I have to thank my captain and coached, who not only provided the motivation but ensured that I conserved my energy out there,” said the 16-year-old Shanghai .

“I entered this tournament with little expectations of winning it. I just played to my own rhythm and I’m very happy with my score over the three days. Even today, when Lee managed four birdies in the front nine, I didn’t feel any pressure,” noted Shi.

Putting a royal seal of approval to the championship, Her Majesty The Queen Hajjah Haminah Hamidon presented the challenge trophy named in the honour of Queen Sirikit of Thailand to the victorious South Koreans. Hong Kong are due to host the 37th edition next year at the impressive Fanling course at Hong Kong Golf Club.

Final Team Standings
425 – Korea
431 – China, The Philippines
435 – Australia
438 – Japan
439 – Chinese Taipei
446 – Thailand
447 – Indonesia
456 – India
457 – New Zealand
459 – Hong Kong
460 – Malaysia
464 – Singapore

Leading final round scores (individual)
209 – Shi Yuting (CHN) 70-68-71
211 – Ssu-chia Cheng (TPE) 75-67-69, Lee So-young (KOR) 71-71-69
214 – Princess Mary Superal (PHI) 74-69-71
217 – Hannah Green (AUS) 75-73-69, Gyeol Park (KOR) 72-72-73,
Haruka Morita (JPN) 71-73-73
218 – Choi Hye-Jin (KOR) 76-72-70, Clare Marie P. Legaspi (PHI) 69-73-76
220 – Shelly Shin (AUS) 75-76-69

Selected others:
226 – Dianne Luke (MAS) 75-74-77
234 – Nur Durriyah Damian (MAS) 82-77-75
241 – Kelie Kan Kah Yan (MAS) 83-78-80