Spain may miss chance to defend International Crown


The Spaniards are moving the wrong way in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

If the darlings of the inaugural International Crown are going to defend their title next summer, they’ve got some work to do.

The Spaniards stole the show from the favored South Koreans and Americans at Caves Valley in Maryland last year. They didn’t just win the new team event in a surprising runaway; they dominated the international stage with their charm, bravado and patriotic fervor.

“Our blood boils when we hear the Spanish anthem, when we see the flag,” Beatriz Recari said after Spain won.

But Spain’s flag won’t be flying at the International Crown next summer if the Spaniards don’t make a hard push into early next year. The top eight teams in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings as of April 4 will qualify for the event to be played July 21-24 at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago. Spain’s not among the top eight in the Rolex rankings this week. Spain was the fifth-seeded team last year but has plummeted four spots in the world team rankings since last year’s event.

With Charley Hull leading the way, the English have moved among the top eight teams in the world and are making a hard push to knock the Spaniards out. There’s a tough battle among three teams on the bubble with England seventh, Thailand eighth and Spain ninth.

If the International Crown teams were named this week, England would be the only new team in the mix.

The world team rankings are based on the cumulative ranking of the top four players from each nation. Here are the top 16 teams in the latest Rolex rankings:

1. South Korea (22): Inbee Park (2), So Yeon Ryu (5), In Gee Chun (7), Hyo Joo Kim (8).

2. United States (34): Stacy Lewis (3), Lexi Thompson (4), Brittany Lincicome (13), Cristie Kerr (14).

3. Japan (194): Mika Miyazato (38), Shiho Oyama (44), Momoko Ueda (53), Misuzu Narita (59).

4. Chinese Taipei (230): Teresa Lu (21), Yani Tseng (35), Candie Kung (63), Ssu Chia Cheng (111).

5. Sweden (328): Anna Nordqvist (12), Pernilla Lindberg (86), Maria McBride (100), Caroline Hedwall (130).

6. Australia (338): Minjee Lee (15), Karrie Webb (26), Rebecca Artis (116), Sarah Jane Smith (181).

7. England (357): Charley Hull (39), Holly Clyburn (87), Melissa Reid (90), Hannah Burke (141).

8. Thailand (359): Pornanong Phatlum (40), Ariya Jutanugarn (65), Moriya Jutanugarn (96), Onnarin Sattayabanphot (158).

9. Spain (415): Azahara Munoz (27), Carlota Ciganda (58), Beatriz Recari (126), Belen Mozo (204).

10. France (466): Karine Icher (60), Gwladys Nocera (75), Perrine Delacour (162), Celine Herbin (169).

11. Denmark (497): Nicole Broch Larsen (76), Emily Kristine Pedersen (127), Line Vedel Hansen (142), Nanna Koerstz Madsen (152).

12. China (525): Shanshan Feng (6), Xiyu Lin (72), Jing Yan (211), Yueer Cindy Feng (236).

13. South Africa (694): Lee Ann Pace (47), Paula Reto (191), Ashleigh Simon (223), Stacy Lee Bregman (233).

14. Scotland (695): Catriona Matthew (61), Pamela Pretswell (175), Kylie Walker (227), Sally Watson (232).

15. Germany (820): Sandra Gal (49), Caroline Masson (80), Olivia Cowan (322), Ann-Kathrin Lindner (369).

16. Canada (970): Brooke Henderson (18), Alena Sharp (149), Sue Kim (381), Augusta James (422).