SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Sweden, Australia and Thailand all grabbed the maximum two points from two matches on the opening day of the LPGA International Crown team event Thursday as China and the United States split their pool matches.
Sweden roared out of the gate with the biggest wins of the day as Madelene Sagstrom and Maya Stark beat England’s Liz Young and Alice Hewson 5-4 in a four-ball competition.
Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall beat England’s Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart-Shadoff 4&3.
Nordqvist and Hedwall, who have a long history together in the Solheim Cup and the International Crown, seized control early as Nordqvist started the day with three straight birdies to give them a 3-up lead.
Law and Ewart-Shadoff birdied the fifth to get to 2-down but would get no closer.
Stark, playing her first match play event as a professional, had her nerves eased as Sagstrom made four birdies and an eagle in the first 10 holes.
Stark then birdied 12 and 13 to assure the Swedes of at least a tie, and after both teams parred the 14th Sweden had the win.
The event at TPC Harding Park is the fourth edition of the eight-team event featuring four-woman teams from eight nations.
Four-ball (best ball) matches continue through Saturday, when the top two teams in each group advance to Sunday morning semi-finals consisting of two singles matches and a foursomes match.
Those winners meet for the title in the same format on Sunday afternoon.
The United States and China were behind Sweden in Group A with one win apiece.
World number one Nelly Korda and Lilia Vu — who won her first major title at the Chevron Championship two weeks ago — rallied on the back nine to beat China’s Yin Ruoning and Lin Xiyu 2&1.
China’s Liu Ruixin and Liu Yu held on to beat Lexi Thompson and Danielle Kang 1 up to grab a point against the top-seeded United States.