OWINGS MILL, Md. - When designing a format for the eight-team International Crown, it’s hard to imagine one producing a better setup than Saturday. Each of the eight teams could still make the five-team Sunday singles matches, and not a single team has locked up their spot in those five.
It’s crazy to fathom heading into the event that a Sunday final round could come without both the top-seeded Americans and second-seeded South Korean team. It’s unlikely, but it could happen. It took a magical Friday turnaround for the American team to even get to this point after getting swept on the opening day by No. 8 Chinese Taipei.
“It’s just we kind of, like I said, we needed that little bit of a wake-up call,” Kerr said.
The Americans switched their teams up Friday and seemed to wake up as a result. The duos will stay the same on Saturday, and there’s naturally a learning curve playing four-ball after fighting all year as an individual. Stacy Lewis remembers at the 2013 Solheim Cup being angry and leaving Creamer on a green to decide whether a putt was going to conceded or not.
“Paula kind of got mad at me and yelled at me,” Lewis said.
“I did. I really did,” Creamer conceded. “I looked for her and she wasn’t there, and I said, ‘You can’t leave me. Don’t leave me hanging. This isn’t over yet.’ I mean, I maybe said it with a little bit more authority in my voice, but…”
That’s the only time the two have played together in team competition, but it’s where the chemistry began that carried over into yesterday.
“It was a wakeup call for me that I needed to be there for her, and I was kind of caught up in myself and what I was doing,” Lewis said. “I needed to be there for her. I really feel like that’s when it all started.”
The duo, which is now 2-0 in team competition together, is placed with the task of slowing down Thailand’s hottest team – the sister duo of Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn. The sisters are fresh off a 3 & 2 victory Friday over Chinese Taipei and Moriya’s played as well as anyone in the tournament through the first two days.
“The Thailand team is strong. The two sisters are a good team and the other two aren’t messing around either,” Creamer said. “No matter who you play, you have to get two balls on the greens and keep putting that pressure on them.”
The pressure will be squarely on the Americans on Saturday, too. Playing at home with the No. 1 seed, they are the favorites, and anything but first would come as a disappointment for them. Missing the Sunday finale? That would be a disaster similar to the 2013 Solheim Cup, and they’ll almost assuredly need to post points on Saturday to advance.
They’re aware, though, and a reporter asked all four Friday if they ever considered after Thursday’s sweep a Sunday finale without the United States, and the response was unanimous and quick from all: “No.”
Just as it should be, Saturday will determine whether that’s something they’ll have to consider when their matches with Thailand end.
Topics: International Crown