Australia sweeps Sweden, Thailand tops U.S. to reach unlikely International Crown final

Australia sweeps Sweden, Thailand tops U.S. to reach unlikely International Crown final
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Call it May madness.

Sunday’s championship match at the Hanwha Lifeplus International Crown will feature the sixth- and seventh-ranked nations in the eight-team field, No. 6 Thailand and No. 7 Australia.

Thailand took down the top-seeded U.S. team, 2-1, as sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn held on for a 1-up foursomes win over Nelly Korda and Danielle Kang, who turned a 2-down-through-12-holes deficit into a tied match with two holes to play before losing the 17th hole and then the match.

Atthaya Thitikul earned the first of two Thai points with a 3-and-2 win over Lexi Thompson.

The Aussies won all three matches against Sweden, the fourth seed competing without standout Linn Grant because of U.S. travel restrictions. Stephanie Kyriacou jumped on Anna Nordqvist early, 4 up through seven holes, before closing out the 4-and-3 victory. Hannah Green never trailed either in beating Caroline Hedwall, 3 and 2. And in foursomes, Minjee Lee and Sarah Kemp fell 1 down through four holes before rallying to defeat Maja Stark and Madelene Sagstrom, 5 and 3.

“I’ll say it again: I’m not really surprised – not in a cocky way – just because of the way we are around each other and the team that we’ve built from the beginning,” Kemp said. “We’ve had lunch together, we’ve had breakfast together every day, we’ve had dinner together, we do everything together, and we’ve just come together really well, and it’s paying off as you can see on the course.

“In that aspect, I’m not surprised that we’re all playing so well.”

Added Nordqvist: “Obviously, it was a little bit of a rougher morning than we hoped for, but Australia played great, and there’s not much you can do then. You know, I think we’re excited to finish this week off on a good note.”

Sweden and U.S. will face off for third while the championship match is contested Sunday afternoon.

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