Americans get top seed for new International Crown


RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – The Americans pulled the first upset in the inaugural International Crown four months before the first shots will be struck in the LPGA’s new Olympic style team event.

When American Lexi Thompson made a late birdie putt Sunday at the Kia Classic, her finish boosted her to No. 9 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, a move that also catapulted the United States ahead of South Korea as the No. 1 seed for the International Crown.

South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi couldn’t resist trying to make that turn of events work to her country’s favor with the LPGA making the final rosters of the eight qualifying nations official in a news conference Tuesday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

“I think all the Korean players have some pressure, extra pressure than normal LPGA tournament players,” Choi said. “We just finished the No. 2 seed, so I just talked with Inbee [Park] and So Yeon [Ryu] and I.K. [Kim].  We feel a little less pressure than before. I think USA has a lot of pressure now. But it's all fun for each other, for each country.”

The International Crown is scheduled July 24-27 at Caves Valley Golf Club outside Baltimore, Md.

Australian Karrie Webb said it's good for the popularity of the LPGA when Americans are playing well.

“I think the Americans playing well, it's huge for this tour,” USA's Stacy Lewis said. “We're an American‑based tour. It’s no lie that the ratings go up, more media coverage, things happen when the American players are playing well.”

Here are the eight seeded nations who qualified and their rosters with world ranking:

1. United States – No. 3 Stacy Lewis, No. 8 Paula Creamer, No. 9 Lexi Thompson, No. 12 Cristie Kerr.

2. South Korea – No. 1 Inbee Park, No. 6 So Yeon Ryu, No. 11 Na Yeon Choi, No. 15 I.K. Kim.

3. Japan – No. 27 Mika Miyazato, No. 31 Ai Miyazato, No. 36 Sakura Yokomine, No. 37 Rikako Morita.

4. Thailand – No. 30 Pornanong Phatlum, No. 34 Ariya Jutanugarn, No. 80 Moriya Jutanugarn, No. 86 Onnarin Sattayabanphot.

5. Spain – No. 19 Azahara Munoz, No. 23 Beatriz Recari,  No. 45 Carlota Ciganda, No. 149 Belen Mozo.

6. Sweden – No. 10 Anna Nordqvist, No. 24 Caroline Hedwall, No. 112 Pernilla Lindberg, No. 172 Mikaela Parmlid.

7. Chinese Taipei – No. 46 Yani Tseng, No. 48 Teresa Lu, No. 97 Candie Kung, No. 160 Hsuan-Yu Yao.

8. Australia – No. 5 Karrie Webb, No. 110 Katherine Kirk, No. 115 Minjee Lee, No. 130 Lindsey Wright.