UL INTERNATIONAL CROWN COUNTDOWN
It’s down to the wire for countries to qualify for the UL International Crown, to be held Oct. 4-7 at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The eight qualifying countries will be determined when the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings are released on June 4, while players will be determined following the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on July 2.
Rolex Rankings No. 170 Mel Reid represented Team England at the 2016 UL International Crown, but she has some ground to make up if she hopes to make the trip to Korea. She is the sixth-highest ranked English player as of May 28, behind No. 25 Charley Hull, No. 36Georgia Hall, No. 42 Jodi Ewart Shadoff, No. 82 Bronte Law and No. 151 Florentyna Parker.
“Yeah, I mean, if I play as well as I feel like I’m going to in the latter part of the season, hopefully it will take care of itself,” Reid said of her chances to make Team England. “England has got a good team as it is. Charley, Jodi are a playing great. Obviously there’s Georgia. Even if I’m not in it, they are going to have a great team. Obviously I want to put these little puppies out of it and get me back in it. I’ll do my best and throw in a few good results and get myself in it.”
Reid’s plan for a late push to make Team England got off to a great start on Thursday as she posted a 2-under par 70 in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open.
As of the May 28 rankings, the top eight countries are: Republic of Korea (18), United States of America (43), Japan (172), England (185), Australia (242), Thailand (255), Sweden (285), Chinese Taipei (317).
Ariya Jutanugarn is playing in her sixth U.S. Women’s Open; her best finish is T17 in 2016, the only year she made the cut
Sarah Jane Smith is playing in her seventh U.S. Women’s Open; her best finish is T46, the only year she made the cut
Smith notched her first career U.S. Women’s Open round in the 60s, while Jutanugarn had her second U.S. Women's Open round in the 60s
Danielle Kang is playing in her ninth U.S. Women’s Open; her best finish is T14 in 2012
Jeongeun6 Lee is playing in her second U.S. Women’s Open; she finished T5 in 2017
Lee uses the number at the end of her name as she is the sixth player with that name in KLPGA history; Jeong Eun Lee 5, a full-time LPGA player, is also in the U.S. Women’s Open field and shot +4 on Thursday
Michelle Wie is playing in her 15th U.S. Women’s Open; she won in 2014 and finished T3 in 2006
Amateur Linn Grant is making her U.S. Women’s Open debut; the 18-year-old from Sweden has verbally committed to attend Arizona State University
Defending champion Sung Hyun Park opened with a 4-over 76 and is tied for 96th; the last U.S. Women’s Open champion to miss the cut in her title defense was Birdie Kim (won in 2005, missed the cut in 2006)
Sarah Jane Smith, Australia (67), on working with coach Sean Foley:
“He always keep in touch. Sometimes I think he’s better for me off the golf course, too. He’s basically like a sports psychologist on the side. He’s been amazing and I think he’s helped Duane and I. My husband caddies for me. Sometimes I think he understands that dynamic where a lot of people would kind of say it’s time to get a -- if we are struggling, he tries to help us figure it out. He’s been great.”
Michelle Wie, USA (69), on Shoal Creek:
“It’s mind-blowing how great the golf course is. The greens staff, they’ve been working day and night trying to get this golf course ready and have done an amazing job. I thought there was no chance we could play a practice round yesterday. I was out there and the greens were actually great, today even better. Hopefully, you know, there will be no storms and just get better and better from here.”
Danielle Kang, USA (69), on childhood preparations for this week:
“My brother actually made me practice mud balls when I was younger. So I was thinking about that yesterday. If there are mud balls, they are mud balls. I remember playing when I was 15 and I was getting so upset because the golf course was wet and it was getting mud. And him and I were having a match and I was trying to clean it off and he was like, no, no, no, you have got to learn how to hit mud balls. It actually gave me a sense of calm. It wasn’t, oh, crap, there is mud. You have to adjust, what is this mud going to do, how is it going to affect the shot.”