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Countries set for LPGA's International Crown next July in Owings Mills

By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

5:40 PM EST, December 10, 2013

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The eight countries that will be represented in the inaugural International Crown women's professional team event at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills next July were named Tuesday by the LPGA.

Based on the Rolex World Rankings, South Korea and the United States will be the favorites in the four-day competition that will include the top four ranked players from each country. The other countries that will play are: Australia, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Spain, Sweden and Thailand.

Led by top-ranked Inbee Park, all four players representing South Korea are currently listed in the top 10 in the world and two of the four Americans currently rank that high.

Among those whose countries did not qualify include No. 2 Suzann Pettersen of Norway, who won the 2007 LPGA Championship when it was played at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace; also No. 4 ranked Lydia Ko, the South Korean -born 16-year old New Zealand phenom.

Along with Park, others from South Korea currently in position to play in the July 24-27 event include No. 5 So Yeon Ryu, No. 7 Na Yeon Choi and No. 10 I.K. Kim.

The Americans ranked in the top 10 are No. 3 Stacy Lewis and 18-year-old Lexi Thompson (No. 9). Kristi Kerr, currently ranked No. 12, and No. 13 Paula Creamer are also among the top four Americans.

Two former No. 1 ranked players are set to be in the event. Veteran Karrie Webb of Australia, back to No. 8 in the world, will also be eligible to play. Former No. 1 Yani Tseng, who also won at Bulle Rock, is ranked No. 29, will represent Chinese Taipei.

Thailand, which also qualified, currently has only one player ranked in the top 32 in the world. Along with the four currently in the top 10, Korea has nine other players ranked higher than Thailand's Ariya Jutanugam, who is No. 31.

The players vying for the competition at the Timonium club have four months to improve — or lose — their position. An announcement at the 2014 Kraft Nabisco in late March will be made to introduce the teams and their seedings.

don.markus@baltsun.com