Posted by: happyfan08 | December 3, 2009

2009 Kyoraku Cup Preview

Every year for the last decade, the best woman golfers from Japan and the best from Korea have met in a team tournament.  The event is usually referred to as the Pinx Cup when it takes place in Korea and the Kyoraku Cup when it is in Japan.  This year’s edition, which takes place on December 4th and 5th, will be contested in Okinawa, and thus is referred to as the Kyoraku Cup.

Each day there are twelve singles matches pitting golfers from each team against each other.  The format of these matches has changed from time to time; some years, there is one round of stroke play and one of match play, while other years they have two match play matches.  Since there are 13 golfers on each team, one player sits out each round.

The teams have been chosen, and they are both well stocked with talented golfers.  The Korean squad always mixes golfers from the LPGA, KLPGA and JLPGA tours; this year, there are five from the LPGA and four from each of the other tours.  The Korean team is as follows:

From the LPGA: Jiyai Shin, In-Kyung Kim, Na Yeon Choi, Eun Hee Ji and Sun Young Yoo.
From the KLPGA: Hee Kyung Seo, So Yeon Ryu, Bo Mi Lee and Jung Eun Lee 5
From the JLPGA: Mi Jeong Jeon, Ji Hee Lee (team captain), Bo Bae Song and Eun Ah Lim

Team Korea

The Japanese squad has the following golfers:
Yuri Fudoh, Akiko Fukushima, Ai Miyazato, Shinobu Moromizato, Sakura Yokomine, Momoko Ueda, Yuko Saito (captain), Miki Saiki, Miho Koga, Erina Hara, Yukari Baba, Ayako Uehara, Chie Arimura

Team Japan

The Japanese squad seems particularly strong this year.  Ai Miyazato got her first win on the LPGA tour this year, and has played very well since then.  She will be playing on her home island, adding to her advantage.  Yokomine won 6 times on the JLPGA tour this year and was the leading money winner; Moromizato has also had a fantastic year.  Fukushima and Fudoh are veterans with a great record in this event. 

By contrast, the Koreans have a lot of strong golfers, but a lot of them have either not played this event before or have not done well in past years.  Of the LPGA golfers, for instance, Yoo and In Kyung Kim have never played, and Choi, Shin and Ji have only won one match combined.  For the KLPGA golfers, none of them have played before (although Ryu and Seo were scheduled to play last year before bad weather canceled the event).  The Japanese squad may be the favorite this year.

Hee Kyung Seo

On the other hand, the Koreans do have several strong weapons.  Ryu won the KLPGA’s Match Play title this year and is tough at that format.  Shin is the top ranked player from either team in the event, and Choi is playing extremely well right now.  Inky had a great record at the Lexus Cup a few years ago, and Seo is white hot thanks to dominating the KLPGA this year.  The secret weapon may be BB Song, who not only won her first LPGA event this year (the Mizuno Classic) but also took the Japan Women’s Open, a Major on the JLPGA.  Not only is she playing well, but she is used to playing in Japan.

This year's Captains: Ji Hee Lee and Yuko Saito

The first day’s match ups look like this:

1.(9:30) So Yeon Ryu vs. Yuri Fudoh
2.(9:39) Jung Eun Lee 5 vs. Akiko Fukushima
3.(9:48) Bo Bae Song vs. Miho Koga
4.(9:57) Mi Jeon Jeong vs. Erina Hara
5.(10:06) Ji Hee Lee vs. Momoko Ueda
6.(10:15) Eun Ah Lim vs. Miki Saiki
7.(10:24) Eun Hee Ji vs. Ai Miyazato
8.(10:33) Hee Kyung Seo vs. Sakura Yokomine
9.(10:42) Na Yeon Choi vs. Yukari Baba
10.(10:51) Jiyai Shin vs. Ayako Uehara
11.(11:00) In Kyung Kim vs. Chie Arimura
12.(11:09) Bo Mi Lee vs. Shinobu Moromizato

Pay special attention to the first match, between Ryu, the youngest member of Team Korea, and wily veteran Fudoh.  Seo vs. Yokomine pits the top two players from their respective tours and could be a fantastic battle.

Good luck to Team Korea!!!

Team Korea

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