Asia retains Lexus Cup with early singles wins

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> South Koreans Jee Young Lee, Seon Hwa Lee and In-Kyung Kim won early matches on Sunday to give Asia an insurmountable lead.

Updated: December 10, 2007 14:58 IST
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South Koreans Jee Young Lee, Seon Hwa Lee and In-Kyung Kim won early matches on Sunday to give Asia an insurmountable lead en route to its second straight Lexus Cup title, a 15-9 victory over the International team.

After sweeping the opening alternate-shot session Friday, Asia took 3 1/2 of six points in best-ball play Saturday to take a seven-point lead into the Sunday singles matches, reduced from 12 to 11 after Norwegian star Suzann Pettersen was forced to withdraw during her match Saturday after aggravating a back injury.

Asia captain Se Ri Pak, bothered by shoulder pain, also sat out Sunday, with Pak and International captain Annika Sorenstam agreeing to halve the match.

With that match leaving the score 10-3, Asia needed only two points Sunday to retain the cup and 2 1/2 to win outright.

Sorenstam opened the singles with a 4-and-3 victory over Candie Kung 4 and 3, but Jee Young Lee countered with a 2-and-1 decision over Nicole Castrale in the second match.

Angela Park then beat Asia's Amy Hung 3 and 1, and Kim secured at least a tie with a 2-and-1 victory over Stacy Prammanasudh.

Seon Hwa Lee, the HSBC Women's World Match Play winner, then put Asia over the top, beating U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr 3 and 2.

Sarah Lee also won for Asia, beating Australia's Nikki Campbell 3 and 1, and Ayako Uehara and Ji Yai Shin earned half-points.

Catriona Matthew won the 18th with a par to halve with Uehara, and Shin took the 17th and 18th to finish all-square with Natalie Gulbis.

Maria Hjorth, Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lincicome won matches for the International side. Hjorth beat Shi Hyun Ahn 3 and 2, Pressel defeated Jeong Jang 2 and 1, and Lincicome won the 18th with a par to edge Meena Lee 1-up.

Asia successfully defend its title after beating the International team 12 1/2-11 1/2 last year at Tanah Merah in Singapore. The International team won the inaugural matches 16-8 in 2005, also at Tanah Merah.

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