Date: July 20, 2016
Author: Michael Jones, contributor

Classy Karrie leaps into green and gold

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You could excuse Karrie Webb for having a dip in the fighting spirit for which she’s revered.

But despite coming up agonisingly short in her long-held Olympic quest, the proud Australian is as eager as ever to represent her country at this week’s International Crown in Chicago.

The biennial teams event – pitting the eight highest-ranked nations in women’s golf – is a rare chance to play for national pride and Webb, typifying her professionalism and patriotic passion that has made her an Aussie legend, cannot wait.

“It’s an honour to be able to represent Australia – to be able to wear Australian colours and play under the Australian flag is something that’s very special,” the seven-time major champion said.

“When we played in (the first International Crown) two years ago, it was fun to hang out as a team, we don’t get to do that very often in golf.

“I’m looking forward to representing Australia and playing with three fellow Aussies.”

The first of Webb’s two Women’s US Open victories came at this week’s host, the Merit Club, in 2000 and she was the world’s best golfer. That was emphasised by her whopping five-shot margin over second-placed Americans Meg Mallon and Cristie Kerr, no doubt leaving the Bob Lohmann-designed course among her personal favourites.

Sixteen years on, the World Golf Hall of Famer is still a force, but she’ll be flanked by three of her proteges who grew up admiring her skill and flair.

Minjee Lee joins Webb in Chicago as Australia’s highest ranked female golfer (world No.14). The 20-year-old already has five top-10 finishes this year and won the LOTTE Championship in April.

Lee was also the only amateur to play in the inaugural International Crown – posting an undefeated record for her matches: 1-2-0. Merit Club’s greens shouldn’t prove too great a challenge for the LPGA’s ninth best putter, who currently averages a tick over 29 per round.

The tournament also provides Lee and fellow compatriot Su-Hyun Oh a taste of what’s to come as they prepare to head to Rio’s Olympics. Oh, who currently sits third in the Rookie of the Year standings, has already recorded two top-10 finishes in her maiden season on tour – the world No.41 finished second at the Kingsmill Championship in May and eighth at the Women’s PGA Championship in June.

Rebecca Artis completes the Australian squad. The 27-year-old, who plays predominantly on the Ladies European Tour, finished seventh in last year’s Order of Merit, posting four top-10s and winning the Scottish Open.

Australia heads into the International Crown seeded fourth, and is pooled with Chinese Taipei, China, and the tournament favourite Korea.

For the full draw and format of the International Crown, click on the link below …