Sunday, July 24, 2016

United States rallies to win UL International Crown


From worst to first.

The United States was shut out in Day 1 of the UL International Crown, but by the time the matches at Merit Club near Chicago wrapped on Sunday, the American quartet had claimed the second title in the team-based event.

The U.S. team of Gerina Piller, Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr managed to win three of four singles matches on Sunday, earning 6 points that propelled their team to win by a single point over South Korea. Piller and Lewis won early in the day against their opponents before a weather delay held up the proceedings. Thompson, however, lost 2 and 1 to South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, leaving it up to Kerr to win her match and secure the title in biennial event. That’s what Kerr did, defeating England’s Mel Reid by a 3-and-2 margin.

“I had a feeling last night if we all played really well and things fell into place that my match could be huge,” Kerr said. “But I just kind of got oblivious to all of that today because it’s just so hard to figure out who’s making points, who’s winning, who’s losing, and I just tried to take care of my match. I didn’t know that it had come down to me winning that match that we had won until Stacy told me.”

The event format is innovative, with round-robin pool play in the first three days inside the groups of four teams of four players for each country. During those first three days, the teams of four competed in two four-ball matches to earn points, with 2 points for a win and each team sharing 1 point for a tie. After the Americans walked away with 0 points against England in Day 1, the U.S. side rallied for three wins and a tie in the next two days of matches, earning a spot among the five teams to make it to the final day of singles.

The U.S. follows Spain, which won the inaugural event in 2014, played at Caves Valley near Baltimore, Md. In 2018, the International Crown will go overseas for the first time, to be played at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, site of the 2015 Presidents Cup.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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