Japan, England, Australia, Thailand, Sweden and Chinese Taipei round out the seedings for the elite biennial team competition
CHICAGO, July 2, 2018 – Tournament hosts Republic of Korea, spearheaded by Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu, earned the No. 1 seeding for the 2018 UL International Crown and defending champions, Team USA, were seeded second when the final field of 32 players was confirmed on Monday via the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
Korea will be represented at the Oct. 4-7 biennial team competition by I. Park, Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and In-Kyung Kim – a powerful quartet of former major champions -- while Team USA will also boast a potent line-up with Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie.
The remaining six countries that have qualified to compete at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon City, in order of seeding, are Japan, England, Australia, Thailand, Sweden and Chinese Taipei.
Their team lineups are: Japan (Nasa Hataoka, Ai Suzuki, Misuzu Narita, Mamiko Higa); England (Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Bronte Law); Australia (Minjee Lee, Katherine Kirk, Sarah Jane Smith, Su Oh); Thailand (Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn, Pornanong Phatlum, Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong); Sweden (Anna Nordqvist, Pernilla Lindberg, Madelene Sagstrom, Caroline Hedwall); and Chinese Taipei (Teresa Lu, Wei-Ling Hsu, Hsuan-Yu Yao, Candie Kung).
"If you think about it, these teams are as hard to make as the Olympics," said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. "So what you're essentially going to get in October is a glimpse of Team Korea, an Olympic-caliber team, competing against seven other high-quality teams. Korea hosted the Winter Games earlier this year; now Korean sports fans are going to get a glimpse of the Summer Games when we show up for the UL International Crown!"
"Playing the UL International Crown in Korea is going to be one of the most exciting competitions in the world of golf this year. At UL, we strive for excellence, and we salute the excellent play of all the golfers who have qualified to represent their countries come October," said UL President and CEO Keith Williams. "Congratulations to all the players; we know it will be a fantastic competition."
The final seedings for the 2018 UL International Crown were determined following the conclusion on Sunday of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes on the outskirts of Chicago. Countries required a minimum of four ranked players to be eligible.
If a player ranked in the top four of a pre-qualified country is unable to compete in Korea, or chooses not to compete, that spot will be filled by the next highest-ranked available player from the Rolex Rankings as of July 2, 2018. Player substitutions will not be allowed once pairings are published for the first round of matches at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea.
The UL International Crown, a unique team match-play competition that features the best female golfers from the top eight countries across the globe, is being staged outside the United States for the first time since it was launched in 2014. This year's edition will be hosted by Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, which is located in the Songdo International Business District in Incheon, and massive fan support is expected in a country that is extraordinarily passionate about golf.
LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Se Ri Pak, who inspired generations of players in her native Korea, has been appointed as the Honorary Director for this year’s UL International Crown, adding to the prestige and symbolism of this high-profile event.
The UL International Crown was first held in 2014 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., where Spain, represented by Azahara Munoz, Beatriz Recari, CarlotaCiganda and Belen Mozo, won all four singles matches on the final day to become the inaugural champions.
Two years later, a powerful United States lineup of Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson and Gerina Piller came from behind to win the prestigious title at Merit Club in Chicago where Spain failed to qualify for the event.