THE Japanese team won 10 out of a possible 12 points in the foursomes at Miyoshi Golf Club on Saturday to consolidate their lead in The Queens presented by Kowa, a match play tournament between the Australian, Korean, Japanese and Ladies European Tours.
On a clear and cool day in Nagoya, the home side won three and a half of their four matches to build an eight point lead over Korea with 22 points.
The LET team is six further back with eight points and seven ahead of the Australian team, who have one point.
In the scoring system developed for the event, three points are awarded for a match won with one point for a halved match.
A maximum of 27 points will be available to each team in the final-day singles.
Japanese Captain Momoko Ueda said: “Although it was the first time for most of us to play in a foursome, we were able to enjoy it with the great support of the Japanese fans behind us.
"Obviously it was another great result for us today, but you never know what happens in golf, so we will tighten up once again to prepare ourselves to win all the remaining matches.”
Her team is currently unbeaten, but the top match was extremely against Europeans Hannah Burke and Melissa Reid, who came from two down to pull one ahead after 14 holes.
The Englishwomen were one up coming to the last green but Burke’s approach shot from the rough found the water and the pair lost the final hole resulting in a halved match.
Japanese pair Ritsuko Ryu and Akane Iijima then beat Australians Rachel Hetherington and Whitney Hillier 2&1 in the third match and Ayaka Watanabe and Erika Kikuchi defeated European Solheim Cup players Catriona Matthew and Gwladys Nocera 2&1 in the fifth.
Captain Ueda and Erina Hara completed their team’s whitewash with a 5&4 victory over Koreans In Gee Chun and Sei Young Kim, the US Women’s Open champion and LPGA Rookie of the Year respectively.
The Korean team won two and a half of its foursomes matches with victories from Yoon Ji Cho and Jung Min Lee over Marianne Skarpnord and Emily Kristine Pedersen, and Jin Young Ko and Bo-Mee Lee over Lindsey Wright and Nikki Garrett.
Karine Icher and Nanna Koertsz Madsen put three points on the board for the Ladies European Tour team with their 4&3 win over Australians Katherine Kirk and Nikki Garrett adding to the point earned by Burke and Reid early in the day.
Sarah Kemp and Sarah Jane Smith put the first point on the board for the Australian team when they halved with Koreans Sung Hyun Park and Min Sun Kim in the second match. The pair went one up against the Koreans at the 17th, but lost the 18th after going out of bounds off the tee.
Ladies European Tour Captain Laura Davies, who rested from the foursomes, said: “Our team is massively disappointed. Hats off to Japan, they had an unbelievable day, winning three of their four matches and seven out of eight so far. Realistically, we’re playing for second place against Korea at the moment. We need to win as many matches as we can.”
The 18 final-day singles matches to decide who will reign at the first edition of The Queens begin at 8am local time on Sunday, with the last match teeing off at 10.16am.
Catriona Matthew will lead the Ladies European Tour team out in the top match against Japan’s Misuzu Narita, while Davies will take on Australian Sarah Kemp in the third.
Melissa Reid will play against Sei-Young Kim, a three-time winner on the LPGA this year, while Gwladys Nocera faces Japan’s Erika Kikuchi. Emily Kristine Pedersen takes on Australian Sarah Jane Smith, Hannah Burke will play the Korean team captain Bo-Mee Lee and Nanna Koerstz Madsen faces In Gee Chun.
Karine Icher will play against Erina Hara, while in the penultimate match Marianne Skarpnord will take on the Australian captain Rachel Hetherington.
In the final match, Japanese captain Momoko Ueda will play Korea’s Sung Hyun Park in front of a large and patriotic home crowd.