A Hall of Famer, two 10-year veterans and the world’s top-ranked amateur will make Australia an interesting team to watch at this summer’s inaugural International Crown.
LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb leads the four-member squad and has been enjoying another great season in 2014. The 39-year-old legend has won twice – the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open and the JTBC Founders Cup – to push her career victory total to 41 and is closing in on 200 career top-10 finishes as she defends her ShopRite LPGA Classic title this week in New Jersey.
Webb is a natural leader who has been itching to tee it up in a team competition. She will be joined by a pair of 10-year LPGA veterans who have each hit the seven-figure mark in career earnings and an exciting amateur she has taken under her wing as a protégé. Katherine Kirk, a two-time LPGA tournament winner with more than $3.7 million in career earnings, world No. 1 amateur Minjee Lee and $2.6 million winner Lindsey Wright complete an Aussie squad that could make some noise in Maryland in July.
Kirk, ranked No. 117 in the Rolex Women’s Golf World Rankings, has 29 career top-10 finishes on Tour and won the 2008 CN Canadian Women’s Open and the 2010 Navistar LPGA Classic. The 32-year-old also has four Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) tour wins on her resume and was part of the winning Australian team at the 2002 World Amateur Team Championship.
Lee, 18, became the world’s top-ranked amateur after her ALPG victory at the Oates Victorian Open earlier this year. Ranked 72nd in the world, Lee won the last two Australian Women’s Amateur titles and the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and tied for 24th at this year’s Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Wright, who was an LPGA rookie along with Kirk in 2004, rounds out the foursome. The 34-year-old has 19 career top-10s on Tour – including a career-best runner-up finish at the 2009 McDonald’s LPGA Championship – and is ranked 142nd in the world.
Australia qualified as the eighth and final team for the four-day event at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., and faces a tough task in the form of a matchup against top-seeded United States in pool play on Thursday of tournament week. The Aussies follow that with a meeting against fourth-seeded Thailand on Friday and a date with No. 5 Spain on Saturday.
Anything can happen in match play, and the Australian squad will be game for the challenges. The players will likely follow Webb’s no-nonsense approach to the competition, which could make them dangerous.
Only time will tell how things play out, but this four-member squad would love to be chanting, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oy, oy, oy!” on Sunday.
This is the first of eight looks at the teams set to compete in the inaugural International Crown, July 24-27, at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. LPGA.com will continue to roll out these features every Friday leading up to the four-day event, so stay tuned for more in-depth descriptions of each four-member team.
Topics: International Crown