Ariya Leads Asian Medal Challenge

gI_155537_Rio-2016-Olympic-Logo-Vector-GraphicRio de Janeiro, Brazil: In-form Thai Ariya Jutanugarn will spearhead Asia’s medal bid when the world’s top women golfers take to the Olympic stage tomorrow.
A field of 60 competitors will be seeking to follow in the footsteps of Margaret Abbott of the United States, who won the gold medal in Paris in 1900.
Host nation Brazil will be recognised again when Miriam Nagl hits the opening tee shot at 7.30 am in the company of Ireland’s Leona Maguire and Kelly Tan of Malaysia – a drive which will mark the return of women’s golf as an Olympic sport after an absence of 116 years.
Last week, the honour of the opening tee shot in the men’s competition went to another Brazilian in Adilson da Silva.
Groupings for the field of 60 include world number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand playing alongside Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and Charley Hull who is representing Great Britain.
The trio tee-off in Wednesday’s starting time at 11:09 am. Nordqvist and Hull will aim to have similar results as their medal-winning countrymen Henrik Stenson (silver) and Justin Rose (gold).
While Ko sits in the top-ranked position in the current world rankings and headed the Olympic qualification, number two Ariya Jutanugarn, fresh from her first Major championship victory at the Ricoh Women’s British Open two weeks ago, will represent Thailand at 10:58 am with American Stacy Lewis and Korean Kim Sei-young.
World number three Brooke Henderson of Canada will play alongside two-time Major champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway and fourth ranked Lexi Thompson of the United States at 9:14 am.
Another interesting group includes former world number one Park In-bee. The Korean star has been sidelined since the beginning of June with a thumb injury but has been working toward the opportunity to represent her country in Rio.
Park tees it up with American Gerina Piller and Spain’s Azahara Munoz at 9:03 am.
The field also includes three amateur golfers – Maguire, Tiffany Chan of Hong Kong and Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland.

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