SAN FRANCISCO — Team Thailand’s performance at the Hanwha LifePlus International Crown this week was dominant, and it was appropriately topped off by a 3-0 victory over Australia in the finals on Sunday at TPC Harding Park.
The quartet of Atthaya Thitikul, Patty Tavatanakit, Moriya, and Ariya Jutanugarn created a plethora of history over the course of four days as the team match-play competition made its return to the LPGA schedule after a five-year absence. They were the first team to win all of the pool games. They had the most victories overall (11 out of 12 total matches) of any nation in any of the three prior competitions. They defeated Spain, a five-seed, in the first championship in 2014 and were the lowest seed (six) to ever win.
This is our first time participating in the competition, and we’ve been waiting for it since 2014,” Ariya Jutanugarn said. We finally achieved what we had been working toward.
It was a team effort, as Thitkul gained momentum in her singles match against Stephanie Kyraciou of Australia, took the lead for good on the back nine, and won 4 and 2 to maintain her perfect week record.
In the second singles match, Tavatanakit defeated Hannah Green 4-and-3 after taking the first hole. This victory over perhaps the hottest golfer on the LPGA Tour secured the win over the Australians.
The Jutanugarn sisters appropriately did the Jutanugarn sisters thing in the anchor match. After playing 18 holes in the morning and defeating Nelly Korda and Danielle Kang in the semifinals by a score of 1, Moriya and Ariya began their match against Minjee Lee and Sarah Kemp by winning four straight holes from holes Nos. 7 to 10. Ariya added to the scoring on the fifteenth to seal a 4-and-3 victory and kick off the celebration because she was already aware that her side had won the championship. She received the Crown’s inaugural MVP award.
Australia only had the advantage between the three finals matches for a total of six holes, demonstrating Thailand’s superior play. Atthaya Thitikul proclaimed, “We are one of the best teams in the world.” And I believe we are capable of competing against any team in the world.
The U.S. presented Thailand with its hardest challenge on Sunday during the semifinals session in the morning. Thitikul easily defeated Lexi Thompson, while Tavatanakit’s defeat to Lilia Vu placed the Jutanugarn sisters under pressure. The Thai twins won their semifinal match with a birdie-birdie finish when tied on the 17th hole.
After the semifinals, Tavatanakit remarked, “They’re [Team USA] great players, but at the end of the day, like I said again, it’s match play; anything can happen.” Basically, “it’s hole by hole, shot by shot.”
Kang and Korda defeated Caroline Hedwall and Anna Nordqvist by a score of 1 to help the Americans defeat Sweden in the third-place match.
The Thai quartet attributed their ability to win the Crown to the relationship they developed over the course of the week. In terms of the nation’s rise in golf, it’s another significant milestone, with the players demonstrating that they belong on an international platform with the rest of the globe. The triumph, according to Tavatanakit, would give the sport in his country more momentum as it gains popularity.
It’s fantastic for our nation, and you can immediately tell that there are many rookies from Thailand this year, according to Tavatanakit. This will help it expand and continue to motivate young people. I’m just very proud of all of us for being able to compete, give it our all, and attempt to uphold the honor of our nation.