Dominant Japan ends 20-year title drought by winning the Queen Sirikit Cup

Queen SirikitSingapore: Japan ended their 20-year title drought at the Queen Sirikit Cup when the trio of 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 on Friday.

The last 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 Korea clinched third place with a 10-under-par score, with host nation Singapore a further shot behind in fourth place.

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. 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 at the Queen Sirikit Cup.

“This win is very special as we have managed to win the Queen Sirikit Cup again after 20 years. It’s a surreal feeling. I’m so happy. 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,” said Hashimoto.

New Zealand’s Fiona Xu, who signed off with a 73, is pleased her debut at the Queen Sirikit Cup ended positively.

“I felt I played well this week. It could have been better, but overall, I’m pleased. The weather’s very different from New Zealand. It’s winter in New Zealand now.

“But over here, I’ve to adapt to the weather quickly. Everyone in the team is very happy with the result as we did not expect ourselves to finish so high atop the leaderboard,” said the 17-year-old.

Singapore’s Shannon Tan signed for a 72 to finish in second place in the individual standings, one shot behind Hashimoto.

“I never expected myself to finish second in the individual standings and also for Singapore to take fourth place. We have indeed surpassed all expectations. A lot of that comes down to the support given to us by the various stakeholders, and we’re really thankful for that,” said Tan.