Asia Grabs Lead in Lexus Cup

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SINGAPORE -- Playing captain Grace Park and Hee-Won Han beat Julieta Granada and Morgan Pressel 1-up in best-ball play Saturday to help Asia take a 7-5 lead over the International team in the Lexus Cup.
 
After splitting the six alternate-shot matches Friday, Asia won four of six matches Saturday in hot conditions to take the lead on Tanah Merah's Garden Course. The LPGA Tour-sanctioned event will conclude Sunday with 12 singles matches.
 
'I'm not sure what happened. It just seems like the Asian team outplayed us today,' International captain Annika Sorenstam said. 'A lot of matches went down to 18. It was a tough day for the International team. Obviously, tomorrow is going to be a big day. We have 12 points to grab and we need to grab as many as we can.'
 
Sorenstam has won both of her matches, teaming with childhood friend Carin Koch on Friday and Natalie Gulbis on Saturday.
 
Han made a 30-foot birdie putt on 18 to beat Granada and Pressel.
 
'I knew that if I was paired with her coming down the stretch, she would pull it off,' said Park, one of nine South Korean players in Asia's lineup.
 
'I'm very proud of my team. They obviously played very well, with a lot of energy, which is huge. ... I think our chances of winning tomorrow are great. We have a lot of girls that are playing very well and they're riding on confidence.'
 
Han, also from South Korea, won twice this year on the LPGA Tour.
 
'Grace played pretty good. I just made that putt,' Han said. 'The whole round, we were able to save each other on different holes.'
 
Granada, coming off a $1 million victory in the ADT Championship, tied the match with a birdie on 16 and the teams halved the 17th with pars.
 
'We really did give our best and fought very hard out there,' Granada said. 'It just came down to that last putt. We are a little upset, but we know we gave it our all. It's harder to lose that way, but what can you do?'
 
Park will face Sorenstam in the opening match Sunday. And, if the teams tie, the two captains will have a sudden-death playoff to determine the winner.
 
'I'm happy to be doing both, but it is a little bit more hard work than you would think, especially trying to put pairings together,' Sorenstam said. 'It's a lot more work, but I'm happy to be here and happy about our position and how they're doing.'
 
Sorenstam and Gulbis beat Jee Young Lee and Meena Lee 2-up.
 
'At first, I was nervous,' Jee Young Lee said. 'It was my first time going up against Annika, but we went out and hit some good shots to start off and played well. ... We did well out there. The other team made better shots, but it was a good day.'
 
Gulbis had two of the best shots, a tiebreaking 30-foot eagle chip on the par-4 16th and a match-ending 15-foot birdie putt on 18.
 
'Annika was already in there and had a 15-footer for eagle, so it was just chip it in or pick it up,' Gulbis said.
 
Paula Creamer and Stacy Prammanasudh earned the other point for the International team, beating Shi Hyun Ahn and Joo Mi Kim 3 and 2.
 
'I thought we played well together,' Prammanasudh said. 'If one of us hit off-line, the other was there to make up for it.'
 
Se Ri Pak and Seon Hwa Lee beat Sherri Steinhauer and Angela Stanford 4 and 2.
 
'I played a lot more solid today,' Pak said. 'I putted well. I was striking well. I didn't feel as good, but I just hung in there. She made a good partner for me. She helped me a lot. I helped her a lot. That's why it's a team game.'
 
In Asia's other two victories, Candie Kung and Jennifer Rosales beat Brittany Lincicome and Nikki Campbell 3 and 1, and Young Kim and Sakura Yokomine held off longtime European Solheim Cup stars Koch and Laura Davies 2-up.
 
'We both came from USC,' Rosales said. 'We have a good chemistry. We've known each other for so long, so it helps a little bit.'
 
On Sunday, Creamer will face Kung in the second match, and Pressel will play Lee Young Lee in the fourth. At the bottom of the order, Gulbis will face Joo Mi Kim in the 10th match, Granada will meet Seon Hwa Lee in the 11th, and Lincicome, the HSBC World Match Play winner, will face Pak in the 12th.
 
The winning team members will each receive $50,000, and the losers will get $30,000. Last year, the International team won the inaugural event 16-8.
 
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