Date: March 07, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Korea locks in Sirikit stranglehold

Click here for live scoring from the 2019 Queen Sirikit Cup.

Many final-round leads look wobbly and chaseable – Korea’s at the Queen Sirikit Cup in Adelaide tomorrow certainly is not among them.

The Koreans, winners of 11 of the past 12 editions of this Asia-Pacific women’s teams title, put a stranglehold on another today, stretching to an imposing 14-stroke lead on the shoulders of some imposing golf from all three team members.

In fact, so dominant are the newest version of the “Seoul Sisters” that on the individual leaderboard, Uhjin Seo leads at six under through two rounds, Ye-Been Sohn is second at four under and Ye Woon Lee is equal fourth at one under.

In contrast, India and New Zealand are jointly the next best nations to have all three players noted on the leaderboard, yet their respective “third players” don’t appear until T20.

So, barring a collapse of almost unimaginable proportions, Korea, already at 12 under, will salute for the 21st time in 41 Queen Sirikit Cups tomorrow, leaving a swag of nations to fight out the minor podium places.

Host nation Australia is best placed at two over, one clear of emerging powers India and China in a share of fourth, with New Zealand at four over, with Japan and Thailand both at six over the last of the most likely challengers for second place.

But while their competitors are hoping for mystical moments of clarity just to compete, it’s the defending champion Koreans who continue to find them almost at will.

Seo and Lee, who fired 68 and 69 respectively today as the day’s best rounds, both had theirs on the 18th hole at Glenelg, the ninth of their rounds that began on the 10th tee.

Seo laced her second shot – a 3-wood on the longish par five – up the left side of the fairway and, even to her amazement, it threaded between a couple of overhanging branches to chase up to the front of the green.

From there, she calmly drilled a 14m eagle putt to set the Korean train into runaway mode.

Minutes later in the next group, Lee spectacularly played a bunker shot from 20m to within 50cm and the resultant birdie was her second in a row and forerunner to four more on the “front nine” as that train careered away.

For her part, Sohn didn’t bring her A-game and battled an errant driver throughout her second round despite immaculate scoring conditions.

Yet the overnight leader dug deep and didn’t endure a dropped shot all day, eventually signing for a two-under-par 71 to reinforce the team’s depth and class.

“It was just that moment when things turned for me,” Seo said through a translator.

“I was lucky not to hit the tree, but when it (my second shot on the 18th) went through (the tree branches), it was almost a turning point for my round.”

Unlike almost all in awe watching the powerhouse team, Lee insisted the job was not complete and that she and her teammates would not relax tomorrow.

“Anything can happen in team golf and 10-shot leads can disappear quickly, so we’ll need to play well again tomorrow,” Lee said.

The two best scores from each of the 14 competing countries count towards each day’s team total. The lowest combined total after tomorrow’s third and final round wins the Queen Sirikit Cup.