U.S.A vs Japan Collegiate Championship: States hold slim lead

TOKYO GOLF CLUB, Japan (July 17, 2008)--The United States maintained its two-point lead following the second round of the 33rd annual Fuji Xerox USA vs. Japan Collegiate Golf Championship at Tokyo Golf Club. The two teams split the day’s singles matches to give Team USA a 19-17 lead. Things looked bleak for the American team early as they led only three matches and trailed in seven halfway through the second round. Ryan Spears battled back from a three-shot deficit and halved the opening match with Shintaro Kobayashi, 70-70. Spears stuffed his approach shot on No. 18 to within three feet to lead to a birdie to complete the comeback.

Sam Cyr fell to Hiroki Abe 75-76, but Kevin O’Connell, who trailed most of the front nine in his match, took the lead for good in the back nine in his 72-74 win against Hiroki Nishida. Japan would claim the next two matches when Daisuke Okabe and Shunsuke Sonoda defeated Brent Witcher and Andrew Putnam, respectively. Okabe lead by four shots after 10 before holding on to a 70-71 victory. Sonoda controlled his match throughout, winning 67-72.

Chris Wolfe overcame a four-shot deficit at the turn and shot one-under on the back nine for the biggest comeback of the day when he beat Yoshihiro Kamei, 75-78. Tomohiro Wakabayashi downed Nick Bova 71-77.

Zack Sucher and Yuki Usami halved the final men’s match, 71-71. Sucher left a putt two inches short that would have clinched the match before Usami drained a nine-footer for the halve. The U.S. women won three of four matches. Jessica Yadloczky took the lead at No. 7 and never looked back in her 75-79 victory against Hiroki Ayada. Lizette Salas led early in her match against Nane Shinzato before falling, 75-77.

Team USA claimed the final two matches when Sydnee Michaels dominated with a five-under-par 69 in her 13-stroke victory over Kaori Azuma. Cydney Clanton took the lead after the first hole and led throughout - 75-79 - against Yumi Takabayashi to maintain the two-point team lead.

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