Japan win Queen Sirikit Cup, end drought

Japan win Queen Sirikit Cup, end drought

Japan players pose with the Queen Sirikit Cup trophy in Singapore on Friday.
Japan players pose with the Queen Sirikit Cup trophy in Singapore on Friday.

SINGAPORE: Japan ended their 20-year title drought at the Queen Sirikit Cup when Mizuki Hashimoto, Tezuka Ayaka and Ueta Miku powered their way to a grandstand finish with a commanding seven-shot victory over New Zealand at Laguna National Golf and Country Club yesterday.

The previous time Japan lifted the Queen Sirikit Cup was in 2002, when the team consisting of Ai Miyazato, Kyoko Furuya and Ayako Uehara emerged victorious in Malaysia.

Two decades later, the team spearheaded by Hashimoto, the reigning Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship (WAAP) champion, would end the week with a combined gross score of 20-under-par to emerge victorious.

The Kiwis secured second place with their 13-under-par gross score while South Korea clinched third place with a 10-under-par score, with Singapore a further shot behind in fourth place.

Taiwan finished fifth and Thailand sixth.

Despite returning with a one-over-par 73 in the final round, Hashimoto finished atop the leaderboard in the individual standings after previous rounds of 70, 64 and 72 for 279.

The 19-year-old was even more pleased as she managed to emulate the footsteps of her famous compatriots in leading her country to victory again in the Queen Sirikit Cup.

"This win is very special as we won the Queen Sirikit Cup again after 20 years. It's a surreal feeling. I'm so happy," said Hashimoto.

"There were lots of expectations on me after I won the Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship, and I'm pleased I was able to handle those pressure well and do well in Singapore."

Singapore's Shannon Tan signed for a 72 to finish in second place in the individual event, one shot behind Hashimoto on 280. Japan's Miku was third on 283.

New Zealand's Fiona Xu said she was pleased her debut in the event ended positively. She was joint 10th in the individual standings on 287.

"I felt I played well this week. It could have been better, but overall, I'm pleased," said Xu.

Rubrong Pimpisa was the best Thai player shooting a total of 288 for 12th place.

Officially known as the Amateur Ladies Asia-Pacific Invitational Golf Team Championship, the Queen Sirikit Cup was inaugurated in Thailand in 1979.

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit The Queen Mother graciously granted permission to have the trophy named after her.

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