Karrie Webb and brilliant amateur Minjee Lee combined to give Australia its first points of the LPGA International Crown as the tour's new teams event began at Caves Valley Golf Club in Maryland today.
Webb and Lee won their four-ball match against Na Yeon Choi and In-kyung Kim of South Korea two-up. The tie was squared when Koreans Inbee Park and Seo Yeon Ryu beat Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright three and two, but it was an impressive performance by the Australians against the higher-ranked Korean team.
Just 18, the world's No. 1 amateur Lee, from Perth, made four birdies — at the fourth, the 10th and the 13th & 18th holes — to set up the win. A member of the Karrie Webb scholarship squad set up by Golf Australia, it was a dream come true for her to play alongside the veteran Webb, a winner of seven major titles and an inductee to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
An emotional Webb belted out the national anthem prior to today's opening to the tournament. "It was very special,'' she said later. " It probably drew more emotion from me than I thought it was going to. The atmosphere on the first tee was pretty cool with the music and the crowd being there. I really enjoyed the first tee experience today. Actually, I think maybe a little bit more nervous than I thought I was going to be as well.''
Webb said the key to her win with Lee was teamwork. " I think that we combined really well. I made some solid pars for us and I let Minjee make all the birdies for us. So that was nice to sit back and watch her play really well and perform really well under pressure. ''
Australia is ranked seventh of the eight teams in the inaugural competition, but there was a major shock on the first tee when eighth-ranked Chinese Taipei, led by former world No. 1 Yani Tseng, beat the top-ranked United States in both matches.
The Australians play Japan tomorrow, with the same pairings in place. The top two teams in each pool go through to the next round.