Sorenstams Squad Falls Short in Lexus Cup

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SINGAPORE -- South Korea's Seon Hwa Lee held off ADT Championship winner Julieta Granada 2 and 1 in rainy conditions Sunday to give Asia a 12 1/2 -11 1/2 victory over Annika Sorenstam's International team in the Lexus Cup.
 
Ahead 7-5 after winning four of the six best-ball matches Saturday, Asia took 5 1/2 of 12 points Sunday in singles play on Tanah Merah's Garden Course. Last year, the International team won the inaugural event 16-8.
 
The 20-year-old Lee, the ShopRite LPGA Classic winner in June, took a 2-up lead with a birdie on 16, hitting a 90-yard shot within inches, then matched Granada's par on 17 to end the event. Granada conceded after Lee hit her 30-foot birdie putt close.
 
'It was a very difficult putt. There were a lot of people watching me,' Lee said through a translator. 'I didn't want to make a mistake.'
 
One of nine South Korean players in Asia's lineup, Lee won all three of her matches in the LPGA Tour-sanctioned event.
 
'I'm so happy. Seon Hwa, what a finish!' said playing captain Grace Park, another South Korean. 'I was shaking so much. I've never been so nervous.'
 
South Korea's Young Kim, Jee Young Lee and Hee-Won Han and Japan's Sakura Yokomine also won in the closing session that was delayed twice because of lightning.
 
'I'm obviously very excited and very happy for my team and for Asia,' Park said. 'I'm just in awe. ... We wanted to get revenge and we wanted the Cup. Everybody came to this event thinking we were going to win and we did it.'
 
South Korea's Meena Lee also earned a crucial half-point against Angela Stanford.
 
'Look at the play of the Korean players on the LPGA. They're playing very, very well,' Sorenstam said. 'This year, they might have had little bit of a different attitude, I think, in the competition than last year. They came out very, very strong. At the end of the first day, it was 3-3.'
 
Kim beat Carin Koch 3 and 2 to finish 3-0. Jee Young Lee routed Morgan Pressel 5 and 4, Han edged Nikki Campbell 3 and 2, and Yokomine beat Laura Davies 4 and 3.
 
'I played very well, but I was a little bit nervous,' Jee Young Lee said through a translator. 'You can lose one hole, but make it up on another hole. Even if you make a mistake, the other player can make a worse mistake and you can still win the hole.'
 
Sorenstam won the opening match, beating fellow captain Park 4 and 3 to finish the three-day competition 3-0.
 
'It came down to the last few matches and pretty much one match to turn it all around,' Sorenstam said. 'It was very exciting. ... I'm very proud of the team. It's been a great week.'

If Granada had rallied to halve with Lee and square the matches at 12 points, the top-ranked Sorenstam would have faced the 99th-ranked Park in a sudden-death playoff to determine the winner.
 
'I enjoy playing Grace,' Sorenstam said. 'She's a great player and also a great person. It was fun to go out with her first and kind of set the pace as well. I think conditions were quite tough today, with all the rain, but she fought really hard.'
 
Natalie Gulbis, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Sherri Steinhauer and Stacy Prammanasudh also earned full points for the International team.
 
Gulbis routed Joo Mi Kim 5 and 4, Creamer won the 18th to edge Candie Kung 1-up, Lincicome beat Se Ri Pak 4 and 2, Steinhauer defeated Jennifer Rosales 4 and 3, and Prammanasudh topped Shi Hyun Ahn 4 and 3.
 
Creamer won when Kung missed a 7-foot par putt on 18.
 
'It was a roller-coaster ride out there,' Creamer said. 'It was unfortunate she missed that putt. ... I'm glad I won.'
 
The lightning stopped play for about an hour early in the matches, then forced a two-hour delay as the last matches were just getting started.
 
'You don't think it's hard, but I only played 2 1/2 holes,' Gulbis said. 'I had to take a little bit of extra club because I hadn't warmed up. And I felt a little bit off on a couple of the putts. What I need to do in those couple of hours is grab something to eat, spend some time getting stretched out, and go over the pin sheet.'
 
Yokomine was Asia's lone Japanese player.
 
'In the beginning, I felt lonely as I can't speak English or Korean, but the team members are so kind and I really appreciated that,' she said through as translator. 'I tried to communicate with gestures and I hoped that everyone could understand me. After three days I felt that I was a true member of the team.'
 
The Asian players earned $50,000 each, while the losers got $30,000.
 
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