Sunday, July 24, 2016

England well placed at UL International Crown in Illinois

Charley Hull (left) and Melissa Reid have made up half of England's dominant team performance this week at the UL International Crown.
Charley Hull (left) and Melissa Reid have made up half of England's dominant team performance this week at the UL International Crown. (Getty Images)
GURNEE, Illinois. – While golf is on the rise in Asian countries like China and Thailand, Mel Reid hopes a victory at the UL International Crown tournament near Chicago might bring a revival of sorts for women’s golf in England.
 A tall order to be sure from an event in only its second staging, but any buzz is good buzz.
“I think English golf is deteriorating,” said Reid. “Especially in the women’s game, especially with juniors.”
The English came in as the seventh seed, but given the chemistry of the team and their history together playing for country, they were certainly a dark-horse favourite.
On Day 3 of four-ball play, England swept Thailand, putting a total of nine points on the board to lead the field at the Merit Club by two – a gap that might prove huge on Sunday as the point totals carry over to singles play.

“Yes, we are the underdogs, but we have a really good team atmosphere,” said Reid. “And I think from my experience, that’s sometimes more important than maybe the ranking of the players. You’ve seen this in Solheim Cups; you’ve seen it in Ryder Cups.”
While the attention centred around Charley Hull, who withdrew from Friday’s play with a fever and complications from asthma, and Mel Reid, the fearless woman who played as a single against a pair of top-50 players from Japan and took them to the 18th, it’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff who deserves a proper nod.
Shadoff, 28, came into this week’s event ranked 92nd in the world. Her first top-10 of the season came two weeks ago at the U.S. Women’s Open, where she tied for eighth. It had otherwise been a rather lacklustre year for Shadoff.
“I definitely do play my best golf when I’m under pressure,” said Shadoff, “when it almost means a little bit more.”
Shadoff carried England in Friday’s match against Japan, which was halved. And then on Saturday, she went on a tear midway through the front nine, draining a 40ft putt for eagle on the sixth hole followed by three consecutive birdies. 
Holly Clyburn picked it up on the back nine, making birdies on Nos. 11 and 12, and then Shadoff put away Thailand with a birdie on the 13th to give England a 7 and 5 victory.
“We came out fighting,” Shadoff said.

Hull watched Reid’s fantastic effort on television after she was given three IV treatments and a breathing mask on Friday morning. She has suffered from asthma since age 5 and switched her inhalant two years ago to comply with the Olympic drug-testing regulations.
Last week, Hull said, she was given an TUE – therapeutic use exemption – to go back on her old inhalant. It generally takes a few weeks, she said, to work with your system properly.
On Saturday, after a 3 and 1 victory with Reid that included another eagle, Hull said she felt “fresh as a daisy.”
“I’m buzzing to go out there tomorrow,” said Hull. “I can’t wait.
Taipei 7pt
China 6pt
S Korea 4pt
Australia 3pt
England 9pt
USA 7pt
Thailand 4pt
Japan 4pt