SINGAPORE (AP) — Jeong Jang and Candie Kung beat Annika Sorenstam and Angela Stanford 3 and 2 on Friday to help Asia split the six opening alternate-shot matches in the Lexus Cup, Sorenstam’s final LPGA Tour-sanctioned event before she retires.
Sorenstam, set to end her Hall of Fame career next week in the Ladies European Tour’s Dubai Ladies Masters, is the International team’s playing captain.
“Of course, I’m disappointed not to get a point, but we played good golf,” Sorenstam said. “We have to regroup and try to get the next two points. It’s a team effort and I’m just glad I have a solid team that can pick me up.”
The teams will play six best-ball matches Saturday and the competition will conclude Sunday with 12 singles matches.
The Asian teams of Song Hee Kim and Inbee Park, and Yani Tseng and Seon Hwa Lee also opened with victories on the Singapore Island Country Club’s Bukit Course.
Kim and Park beat Helen Alfredsson and Christina Kim 3 and 2, and Tseng and Lee held off Suzann Pettersen and Natalie Gulbis 2 and 1. Lee is 7-0-0 in the event.
“I think me and Yani made a really good team,” Lee said. “She hit it far. I had a good short game. We matched up. She hit it solid today in the fairway and I hit really good iron shots today and made a couple birdies.”
The International teams of Cristie Kerr-Karen Stupples, Paula Creamer-Nicole Castrale and Katherine Hull-Nikki Campbell won their matches.
Creamer and Castrale edged Asian captain Se Ri Pak and Eun Hee Ji 2-up.
“It’s hard to focus on your game when you’re focusing on your group,” Pak said. “At the same time, I’m not happy about losing it. It happened. I tried to do well. There’s two days to go. We’re happy with the results. We have a great team.”
Creamer has an inflamed abdominal wall that left her hospitalized Saturday night and nearly forced her to withdraw from the final round of the ADT Championship.
“I struggled,” Creamer said. “It was hard with the medications in the sun and the heat, probably not the best mixture for your body. It was a good match. Playing against Se Ri, always nice to beat the captain.”
Kerr and Stupples beat Sarah Lee and Na Yeon Choi 2 and 1.
“It was awesome,” Stupples said. “We had it all worked out really well today, who was drawing and who was fading. Cristie is a great partner to play with. She kept me in it. I was a bit nervous at times out there.”
The Australian duo of Hull and Campbell beat Japan’s Namika Omata and Mayumi Shimomura 3 and 1.
“It had been a while since I’d played foursomes, so, I must admit, it took a while to get a rhythm out there,” Hull said. “We did well considering, and it’s great to get a point on the board. Anytime you can get at least half a point is good. We’re looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully get another point on the board.”
Asia won 15-9 last year at The Vines in Perth, Australia, for its second straight victory. The International team won the inaugural matches 16-8 in 2005 at Tenah Merah in Singapore, and Asia won 12 1/2-11 1/2 at Tenah Merah in 2006.
“Overall, we are very pleased with the performance,” Sorenstam said. “There were some great matches out there, some great golf overall. We had some teams that clicked very well, which was fun to see. It was a good atmosphere out there and I’m very proud of the team. It was way better than last year.”
Kung and Jang took a 4-up lead over Sorenstam and Stanford with a birdie on No. 11.
“We played great together,” Kung said. “We had a good plan. She is a much better putter than me, so we let her do that and she did her job.”
The Asian team dropped 14 and 15, but won 16 with a par to end the match.
“She was helping me a lot and, hopefully, I was helping her,” Jang said.