Adelaide, Australia (October 19, 2008) – In blustery conditions, Scotland claimed its first Eisenhower Trophy with a nine-stroke victory in the 2008 World Amateur Team Championship.
"We set out to try to win but to go out and do it is unbelievable,” said Scotsman Callum Macaulay, who shot 1-under-par 72 on the Royal Adelaide Golf Club.
Combining Macaulay’s score with a 2-over-par 75 from Gavin Dear, Scotland finished with a 20-under-par total of 560 for 72 holes, the second-best score since three-player teams were instituted in 2002.
Beginning the final round with a four-stroke lead over the USA, the Scots started strongly with Macaulay leading the way by birdieing five holes in his first nine. That early pace moved the Scots further ahead of the contending Americans and Swedes, who finished second and third at 569 and 574, respectively. Scotland’s final round 1-over-par 147 was five strokes better than the USA and six better than Sweden.
"We got off to slow start and made some bogeys earlier and then we were really in a hole,” USA captain Walter Driver said. “There were very testing conditions with the wind blowing hard. Obviously, the Scots loved it. They played well.”
Dear agreed that the wind, which increased as the day progressed, was in the Scots’ favor.
"It helps because we feel we are all good wind players,” Dear said. “It was good to have it blowing a mere gale and we know that par is a good score.”
Even with a large lead, Scottish captain George Crawford did not feel secure with victory until the 17th hole.
"I somewhat felt we were in a strong position after 14,” Crawford said. “But, ultimately it wasn’t sure until we played the 17th, where Gavin chipped in for an eagle and Callum made birdie.”
The weight of the accomplishment was not lost on Crawford either.
"It’s history in the making for a small nation as the home of golf,” Crawford said. “The way golf has developed on the continent means it’s much more difficult to compete at this level. It’s a historic occasion. It’s tremendous.”
The Scots were playing for just the fourth time under their own flag with a best finish of tied for sixth in 2006. Four times – 1964, 1976, 1988 and 1998 – individual Scots have been part of gold medal winning Great Britain and Ireland teams. From 1958 to 2000, the Scots were part of that team. In 2002, when the championship moved from four-player to three-player teams, they made their debut.
With the victory, Scotland closed an historic circle. In the first championship in 1958 at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, the Australians won. Fifty-years later, the Scots have the trophy in Australia.
The USA was vying for its 14th Eisenhower Trophy and had won the championship three of the last four times.
"It’s a little bit disappointing,” Driver said. “Silver is not bad when we had a chance to win.”
Finishing the top 10 were France and Italy tied for fourth; Australia in sixth, defending champion Netherlands and Spain tied for seventh and Argentina and Canada tied for ninth.
In the World Amateur, the team’s two best individual scores count.
The winning team receives custody of the Eisenhower Trophy for the ensuing two years and the players receive gold medals.
Although there is no individual recognition, Rickie Fowler of the USA was the low scorer at 10-under-par 280.
In the final round, the top half of the field played at Royal Adelaide Golf Club and the bottom scoring half played at The Grange Golf Club’s West course.
The International Golf Federation was founded in 1958 to encourage the international development of the game and to employ golf as a vehicle to foster friendship and sportsmanship. The IGF is the recognized international federation for golf for the International Olympic Committee and comprises the national governing bodies of golf of more than 110 countries.