Team Spain “Crowned” Champions at 2014 International Crown!

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 4.51.05 PMCountry versus Country: Eight Teams started, Team Spain “Crowned” Champions after 4-days of stellar golf!

INAUGURAL 2014 INTERNATIONAL CROWN TOURNAMENT

In a first-of-its-kind event for Women’s Golf, eight teams, representing eight different countries, gathered at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland, and battled for the right to be “Crowned” the world’s best. Each country’s team was comprised of 4-golfers for a total of 32-golfers in the competition.

  • Teams & Team Members

IC-Countries

UNDERSTANDING THE FORMAT

The scoring format for the International Crown has drawn attention from the golfing world, but mostly for the wrong reason, that of being somewhat hard to understand. Akin (in my mind) to a soccer tournament (with pools), a softball tournament (with round-robin play), and a final “NCAA bracket” singles event, the format – to say the least – is complicated.

However, when you break it down to its simplest form . . . the first three days are “pool” play; where each country’s team plays match play against all the teams in their pool, in 2-person/paired Four Ball format.  Scoring is per match, and 2-points for a win, 1-point for a tie, and 0-points for a loss.

At the end of the first three days of pool play, the top two teams in each pool go through automatically into singles play on the final day of the competition.  The fifth (and final team) going through to singles is settled through a sudden-death playoff of the third place teams from both pools.  Easy . . . right?

Pool A: United States, Thailand, Spain, Chinese Taipei.

Pool B: Republic of Korea, Japan, Sweden, Australia.

TOURNAMENT RESULTS

Team USA; Paula Creamer & Stacy Lewis talk strategy
Team USA; Paula Creamer & Stacy Lewis talk strategy

Enough with the format . . . let’s talk about the great golf played by the teams over the four days of the International Crown Tournament. Team USA came in seated at #1 overall, with the Republic of Korea, seated at #2. Both USA and Korea were the top seeds in their respective pools. After day 1 of pool play concluded, it didn’t look good for the Americans.  Shut out completely on day 1, Team USA had to quickly turn it around, and they did, going undefeated on day 2.

It wasn’t an easy road for the Koreans through pool play either and surprisingly, when day 3 pool play ended, both Team USA and Team Korea (#1 and #2 seeds) found themselves in a sudden death playoff to stay in the competition and move through to singles as the the wildcard.  For the sudden death playoff, Team USA selected Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson to play against Korea’s selection of Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu.  Long story short, Korea won the first playoff hole with two birdies, while Team USA posted a birdie and par.  It was a sudden and shocking end to the tournament for Team USA, especially hosting this first-time inaugural tournament on home soil. “The first day of this event was the killer (for us)”, said Cristie Kerr disappointingly to reporters after the playoff.

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(Courtesy: LPGA.com)

Moving forward into singles finals on day 4 (in descending order) were: Team/s Japan (8-points), Spain (7-points), Thailand (7-points), Sweden (7-points), and Korea (6-points).

SINGLES

Singles play on Sunday was exciting with great golf being played throughout the day. The singles format bracketed out with 10-matches involving all 20 players playing, and each of the 4-team members playing a different country through pre-determined bracketed seating.

In singles play, all players played their own ball against the other player’s ball in match play format, utilizing the same scoring system as in pool play; 2-points win/1-point tie/0-points loss. With only 2-points maximum per match, the event is perfectly drawn up to be close and pressure packed . . . one of the great positives of this part of the scoring format.

When the day ended, Team Spain, the #5 seed coming in, but the #2 seed going into singles play, continued their strong play, and finished as the 2014 International Crown Champions.

Team Spain came into the competition confident and played stellar golf the entire tournament (backing up a little pre-tournament bravado talk).  It was clear, Spain’s experience in match play competition (via the Solheim Cup) was a big advantage when the pressure was on.

Congratulations to Team Spain, 2014 International Crown Champions.

Belen Mozo, one of Spain’s rising golf superstars, said it best when describing Team Spain’s win. “Damn, it feels good! I’m thrilled and can’t wait to celebrate with my teammates!”

THE GREAT YEAR OF WOMEN’S GOLF

The Great Year of Women’s Golf continues with the conclusion of the 2014 International Crown.  There will be some naysayers out there.  There may be discussions about the tournament format.  There may be even discussions about how and when country team members are selected every two-years.  However, not up for debate in my mind, is what this tournament meant to each and every golfer who represented their nation with pride and the positive attention this tournament has brought to Women’s Golf.

Team Spain: (Left-to-right) Carlota Ciganda, Azahara Munoz, Beatriz Recari, Belen Mozo
Team Spain: (Left-to-right) Carlota Ciganda, Azahara Munoz, Beatriz Recari, Belen Mozo (Courtesy: LPGA.com)

FINAL SCORES

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MEET TEAM SPAIN

http://www.lpga.com/media-library/videos/2014/tournaments/international-crown/team-features/5-spain.aspx

Editor’s Note:  Did you watch the International Crown? What did you/do you think of the format? Please share your thoughts and comments with us in the comments section. We would love to hear from you. 

BIO: Keith Cook is a contributing editor for localgolfer.com. His career highlights include rounds in nearly every US state and numerous countries throughout the world. He is a retired 29-year US Military Veteran and Ashford University Alumni living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.

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USGA Press Release: Zalatoris Defeats Riley to Win 67th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship

Zalatoris Defeats Riley, 5 and 3, to Win 67th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship

By Greg Midland, USGA

William Zalatoris, of Plano, Texas, captured the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in his home state with a 5-and-3 victory over Davis Riley at The Club at Carlton Woods' Nicklaus Course. (USGA/Jonathan Ernst)
William Zalatoris, of Plano, Texas, captured the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in his home state with a 5-and-3 victory over Davis Riley at The Club at Carlton Woods’ Nicklaus Course. (USGA/Jonathan Ernst)

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – In a memorable match that was closer than the final score indicated, William Zalatoris, of Plano, Texas, defeated Davis Riley, of Hattiesburg, Miss., 5 and 3, to win the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at The Club at Carlton Woods’ Nicklaus Course. It is the first USGA championship title for Zalatoris and the second consecutive U.S. Junior runner-up finish for Riley.

“This is the one I’ve always wanted to win,” said Zalatoris, who was making his fifth and final appearance in the championship he first qualified for when he was 12. “This is the tournament that really pushed me to play golf. And I really, really wanted to win this, and this is the first week that I really felt like I could do it. My emotions are running like crazy.”

The battle between these two accomplished 17-year-olds began at 8 a.m. CDT and got off to the kind of start that is worthy of a championship final. Zalatoris and Riley hit their approach shots to the par-4 first hole to 25 feet and 15 feet, respectively, and both drained the birdie putts. It was one of four holes that they would halve with birdies in a match that was rarely without precise shot-making and clutch putting.

The players went back and forth between 1 up and all square through the 10th hole. Riley made his first surge after that, birdieing 11 and 12, the latter when he knocked in a curling, downhill putt from the back fringe on the 160-yard par 3.

The 2-up margin was short-lived, however. Zalatoris won the next hole to cut the deficit in half, and the players arrived at the dramatic par-5 18th hole, which has been the site of clutch shots and exciting finishes all week, with Riley nursing a 1-up lead.

On 18, both players hit wayward drives and had to lay up, and Zalatoris was first to play his third. He executed a near-perfect shot from 105 yards that landed close to the hole and settled 5 feet away. Riley, trying to match it, instead came up just short in the greenside bunker, and Zalatoris rolled in the birdie to square the match at the midway point.

“It did mean a lot, having a little bit of momentum,” said Zalatoris about the birdie on 18. “The morning was awesome, just back and forth. And this afternoon I really played the round of my life.”

Indeed, Zalatoris emerged from the lunch break with his foot on the gas. He birdied the first two holes – the 19th and 20th of the match – to take his first 2-up lead of the day. Though Riley birdied the next hole to cut the margin to 1 up, it was clear that Zalatoris was on top of his game and Riley, though also playing well, would have a hard time regaining the lead.

With Zalatoris holding a 3-up advantage through 30 holes, the match was effectively decided over the next two holes. On the par-5 13th hole (the 31st of the match), Riley hit a driver off the deck from more than 275 yards, reaching the first cut of rough just short and right of the green. His chip ran roughly 8 feet past the hole, but with Zalatoris facing a 4-footer for par, it was Riley’s chance to get to within 2 down of his opponent. The putt stopped one inch to the right of the hole, much to Riley’s frustration.

The 437-yard 14th hole is fairly straight but has a narrow fairway and a difficult green that slopes away from the players. Here, on the 32nd hole of the match, Riley hooked his drive into the rough on the left yet hit a lovely approach shot that bounced in the front of the green and rolled over a ridge to within 10 feet of the hole. Zalatoris, from the middle of the fairway, then hit the shot of the championship.

From 119 yards, he selected his 56-degree wedge and, sticking to the game plan that he and his caddie, Scott Fawcett, had agreed upon, Zalatoris took dead aim at the flagstick. The shot soared high and landed just short of the hole, then took one hop and went in for an eagle-2 that must have felt like a dagger to a stunned Riley.

“That’s the shot I’ll never forget,” said Zalatoris. “That hole has been giving me fits all week. To see that go in and not have to deal with putting on that green was great satisfaction.  I really had to slow myself down after that.”

Four up and dormie, Zalatoris needed to simply avoid a big mistake to gain the victory. He ripped a drive down the middle of the fairway on the next hole and reached the green safely, while Riley missed long and left with his approach. Zalatoris ended up with a conceded par and the 5-and-3 victory, soaking in the applause and adulation of his family, friends and the gallery.

“You know, this one, it touches my heart, to be honest with you,” said Zalatoris. “Just spin this trophy around and look at the names, it’s amazing.”

The victory continues a sizzling summer for Zalatoris, who won the Texas State Amateur in June and the Trans-Miss Championship, held at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., two weeks ago. He will begin his college career at Wake Forest University in the fall.

Riley, who became the only player in U.S. Junior Amateur history to lose in two finals, was magnanimous in defeat.

“He played well, and congrats to him,” said Riley. “I’m really proud of how I played. I didn’t beat myself; he just deserved it.”

Both finalists are in the field for the 114th U.S. Amateur, which will be contested Aug. 11-17 at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga. Riley will attempt to learn from his U.S. Junior experiences and perhaps write a different ending, while Zalatoris will look to continue the momentum of what has become the most special and successful year of his golf life.

67TH U.S. JUNIOR AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

Results

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Results from Saturday’s 36-hole final of the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at The Club at Carlton Woods’ Nicklaus Course (7,212 yards, par 72):

William Zalatoris, Plano, Texas (140) def. Davis Riley, Hattiesburg, Miss. (138), 5 and 3

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Media Contact: Greg Midland (gmidland@usga.org)
Web Address: www.usga.org
Phone: 908-234-2300

(C) 2014 United States Golf Association.  All Rights Reserved.

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USGA Press Release: Superal Wins 2014 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

Superal Wins 2014 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

Princess Mary Superal, 17, became the first Filipino-born golfer to claim a USGA championship with her 37-hole victory over Marijosse Navarro, of Mexico, in the championship match of the 2014 U.S. Girls' Junior at Forest Highlands G.C. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)
Princess Mary Superal, 17, became the first Filipino-born golfer to claim a USGA championship with her 37-hole victory over Marijosse Navarro, of Mexico, in the championship match of the 2014 U.S. Girls’ Junior at Forest Highlands G.C. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Princess Mary Superal, of the Philippines, survived a late comeback from Mexico’s Marijosse Navarro and captured a hard-fought 37-hole victory at the 2014 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship on Saturday at Forest Highlands Golf Club’s Meadow Course.

Despite leading for the majority of the match, Superal went to the par-5 36th hole trailing by one. Needing to force extra holes with a birdie, Superal converted a 10-foot uphill putt and when Navarro missed from 8 feet, the match went to extra holes.

Navarro’s tee shot on the first playoff hole – the par-5 14th – found the water, and Superal parred the hole to take the title.

“I really didn’t expect it,” said Superal, who becomes the first player born in the Philippines to win a USGA championship. “I feel very, very proud.”

The battle of 17-year-olds was just the second time since the championship final was extended to 36 holes in 2006 that extra holes were required to decide the title. Jenny Shin needed 37 holes to beat Vicky Hurst eight years ago.

The morning round was a quiet affair. After halving the opening three holes, Superal knocked in a 3-foot birdie at the par-4 fourth for a 1-up lead. She stretched the advantage to 2 up after Navarro three-putted for bogey at the par-4 eighth. Superal successfully got up and down from the greenside bunker, and watched her ball circle the hole and finally drop for a hole-winning par.

Navarro, a three-time Women’s Mexican Amateur champion, struck right back, winning the par-4 10th with a 5-foot birdie.

Superal regained her 2-up lead at the par-3 17th when Navarro failed to get up-and-down for par. But when Superal’s birdie try at the par-5 18th just burned the left edge of the hole, Navarro smoothly converted her 4-foot birdie, giving Superal a 1-up lead going into the lunch break.

Navarro was able to square the match on the 22nd hole when she stuffed her 58-degree wedge approach to 3 feet and won with a birdie. But Superal answered with birdies at holes 23 and 27 to again go 2 up.

At the 32nd hole, the match turned in Navarro’s favor. She hit the green in two and though she left her eagle putt short, she won the hole when Superal’s birdie attempt rolled past the hole.

With the momentum firmly in her favor, Navarro hit her second shot at the par-4 33rd hole to 10 feet. Superal two-putted for par, and Navarro drained her birdie putt to square the match.

Navarro took her first and only lead at the 35th hole. After missing the green 15 feet left, she made a superb recovery shot to 6 feet. When Superal’s par putt lipped out, Navarro owned a 1-up lead.

“It was nerve-wracking,” said Navarro of that clutch chip. “But like my caddie (Northern Arizona University golfer Jacquie LeMarr) said to me, you’ve been practicing this all your life and just trust yourself.”

Superal found herself in a position she had not known the entire round – being the chaser, not the leader. The petite Filipina knew what she had to do.

“Just to make a birdie on that hole” was Superal’s plan heading to the final hole of regulation.

Always the longer hitter of the match, Navarro nearly reached the 36th green in two. After Superal knocked her approach to 10 feet, Navarro’s chip from the rough rolled 8 feet past the flagstick. Superal put pressure on her opponent by draining her birdie putt, and Navarro’s attempt just grazed the edge, sending the match to extra holes.

“It was a difficult putt, but I wasn’t (confident),” said Navarro, who has already completed a semester at Texas A&M University after graduating 1½ years early from high school last October. “Since yesterday, I wasn’t putting very good.”

That extra hole immediately spelled the end for Navarro. She hooked her tee shot at the 14th hole into the pond that runs to the left of the fairway. Forced to take a drop, Navarro reached the green in four, while Superal was on in three. Superal missed her birdie putt, but when Navarro pushed her par attempt long, she conceded the hole and the match to Superal.

The match showcased two talented young golfers. Superal played to the equivalent of 8 under par, with the usual match-play concessions, and did not card her first bogey until the 35th hole. Navarro was 7 under.

Navarro and Superal both receive exemptions into the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, to be conducted Aug. 4-10 at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y. Both players had already qualified for the championship. Superal will also receive an exemption into the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur, to be held at Portland (Ore.) Country Club.

The U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Result

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Result from Saturday’s championship round of match play at the 2014 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, being conducted on the Meadow Course at the 6,718-yard, par-72 Forest Highlands Golf Club:

Princess Mary Superal, Philippines (142) def. Marijosse Navarro, Mexico (136), 37 holes

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Media Contact: Christina Lance (clance@usga.org)

Web Address: www.usga.org

Phone: 908-326-1882 (office), 908-963-1691 (cell)

(C) 2014 United States Golf Association.  All Rights Reserved.

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