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Thailand caps 11-1 week with Aussie sweep, International Crown title

Thailand didn’t just win its first Hanwha Lifeplus International Crown in four tries. It did so in dominant fashion.

After going 6-0 in group play and then beating the top-ranked U.S. team, 2-1, in the semifinals, Thailand didn’t have a match go past the 16th hole in a 3-0 win over Australia in the championship match Sunday afternoon at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

“We played well. We won matches. We made putts. We executed shots,” Patty Tavatanakit said. “Yes, we appreciate it, but we also deserve it.”

Tavatanakit secured the first point for Thailand with a 4-and-3 victory over Hannah Green. Atthaya Thitikul followed minutes later by securing the clinching point, rallying from 1 down through seven holes to beat Stephanie Kyriacou, 4 and 2.

With the title already in hand, Thailand added its record 11th point – it had totaled 10 points in three previous editions combined – with a 4-and-3 victory by sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn over Minjee Lee and Sarah Kemp. Ariya sealed that match by chipping in for par.

“Actually on that hole, we just talk about do we have to keep playing,” Ariya said. “Like we don’t know what’s going on. We know they (her teammates) already won, so I don’t know if I have to keep playing or not. ... I feel like if I keep doing this we might have to play to 18, so I’m like, OK, what we have to do. So that shot, I just really want to make it because I want to finish.”

Australia, the seventh seed, had finished last in each of the first two International Crowns before placing sixth in 2018.

“It’s a little disappointing,” Kemp said, “but at the same time, I think we made everyone in Australia proud by finishing second. I’m proud of these girls. We’ve done the best ever Australia has done in this tournament. It’s obviously a little disappointing, but it’s still a big win for us.”

Full scoring from the Hanwha Lifeplus International Crown

The U.S. took third place with a 2-1 win over Sweden.

But it was Thailand that would be leaving the Bay Area with the winning crowns.

“I think it does a lot already, and like me being one of those young kids who looked up to them (the Jutanugarns), coming to this stage and trying to make a name for myself, us winning this event is huge for golf in Thailand,” Tavatanakit said. “It is already growing, and I think this is going to inspire a lot of people, even more than what we feel inspired 10 years ago.

“I’m really excited to see the future of Thai golf.”