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Golf

Spain wins inaugural International Crown



Owings Mills, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - Belen Mozo defeated Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn, 3 & 2, in the third-to-last match of the day to clinch the inaugural International Crown for Spain.

Mozo drained a big birdie putt at the par-5 16th hole and then watched as Jutanugarn's birdie try just rolled past the hole, clinching the title for the Spaniards.

With teammates Carlota Ciganda and Beatriz Recari having already won earlier in the day to pick up four points for Spain, a win from Mozo meant no other team could catch up despite two more matches still going on at Caves Valley Golf Club.

Spain swept all four of their singles matches on Sunday to finish with 15 points for the week, which was four points better than second-place Sweden. Ciganda defeated Korea's Na Yeon Choi, 8 & 6, Recari topped Sweden's Mikaela Parmlid, 3 & 2, and Azahara Munoz beat Japan's Ai Miyazato, 2 & 1, to go along with Mozo's win.

"I can't even tell you how I feel right now. It's been such an amazing week for us. We've had such a good time," said Munoz, who was still on the course when Mozo clinched the title. "When we knew we won on the 15th green I almost lost it. I don't know how I could keep playing because I was going to get a heart attack, so it's just super-exciting that we won the first ever International Crown and I'm so proud to be from where I am. It's just awesome."

Sweden, which started the day with seven points along with Spain and Thailand, got wins from Pernilla Lindberg and Anna Nordqvist. Lindberg defeated Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, 6 & 5, while Nordqvist beat Japan's Mamiko Higa, 3 & 2, to give Sweden 11 points and a second-place finish.

Japan finished tied for third with 10 points after beginning the day in first with eight. Japan got just two points on Sunday from Mika Miyazato, who beat Thailand's Onnarin Sattayabanphot, 3 & 1.

Korea also ended with 10 points after making it to Sunday's singles match play by defeating the United States in a wild-card playoff on Saturday. Korea received four points with wins from Inbee park and So Yeon Ryu. Park beat Sweden's Caroline Hedwall, 4 & 2, while Ryu topped Japan's Sakura Yokomine, 1- up.

Thailand earned just two points on Sunday when Pornanong Phatlum beat Korea's I.K. Kim, 1-up. Thailand ended in fifth place with nine points, while the United States (6), Chinese Taipei (4) and Australia (3) were eliminated on Saturday.

The wins by Ciganda and Lindberg had Spain and Sweden tied at nine points apiece early, and the two teams were joined by Thailand following Phatlum's victory.

Recari and Nordqvist finished their matches off around the same time as each other, keeping Spain and Sweden knotted at 11. Recari's win over Parmlid proved to be huge, however, as Nordqvist was the last Swede left on the course, while the Spaniards still had two.

In the deciding match, Mozo found herself down early when Moriya Jutanugarn birdied No. 4 to go 1-up. Mozo got that hole right back with a birdie at No. 5, but another birdie by Jutanugarn at No. 6 had her 1-up yet again.

Mozo had another answer, however, as she parred No. 7 to square things up. Jutanugarn did not lead again.

Mozo captured the next two holes as well to go 2-up. Jutanugarn birdied No. 10 to shrink the deficit to one, but another birdie by Mozo at 12 had her 2-up again. The duo halved the next three holes before Mozo closed things out with her birdie on 16.

"I'm playing really good golf and I'm committing to my spots. That's all you want," Mozo said following her match. "I played against Mo [Jutanugarn]. She's such a big superstar. She plays amazing golf. I'm thrilled and I can't wait to celebrate with my teammates."

NOTES: Mozo (112) was the only player on Spain who is not ranked inside the top 100 in the world. Munoz is the highest ranked player at 20, while Recari and Ciganda are 37 and 63, respectively ... The LPGA Tour next heads to Grand Rapids, Michigan in two weeks for the Meijer LPGA Classic, which is also a new event.

07/27 20:59:40 ET

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