USA Takes Lead at Copa de las Americas
Buenos Aires, Argentina (Jan. 7) – The USA overcame a first-day deficit on Thursday to host country Argentina and holds the overall lead at 15-over-par 589 through two rounds of the 2010 Copa de las Americas at Olivos Golf Club.
Canada held its second place at 592, Colombia is third at 593, Peru is fourth at 600 and first-day leader Argentina posted a 24-over total of 310 to fall into fifth place at 601. The second round was played at the traditional, parkland layout at Olivos Golf Club. The scene shifts back to Buenos Aires Golf Club for Friday’s third round and the final round will be held at Olivos Golf Club. Both sites will be hosting the World Amateur Team Championships this October.
“It wasn’t a day we expected,” said Argentine captain Miguel Leeson. “But, the format leads us to hope that we can recover. It gives you a chance to rebound. The kids are more familiar with Buenos Aires but that doesn’t mean they will play better tomorrow because the wind can be an important factor there. When you start to play poorly at Olivos, the course does not make it easy to recover.”
The USA, which began the day in fourth position and 10 strokes behind the leaders, was buoyed by a 3-under-par 69 from 16-year-old Jessica Korda and a 2-under-par 69 from Peter Uihlein. Both were the best rounds of the day as Nathan Smith and Jennifer Song both shot 75.
“We still have two rounds to go but how many shots did we make up on Argentina?” said Uihlein, a member of the 2009 Walker Cup Team and a standout at Oklahoma State. “They are a good team. It shows how hard a four-man competition is.”
Canada, which trailed Argentina by seven strokes, received an even-par 72 from Stephanie Sherlock, who plays at the University of Denver. Nick Taylor, the low amateur at the 2009 U.S. Open, and Jennifer Kirby, a University of Alabama player, each shot 73. Matt Hill, the 2009 NCAA Division I men’s individual champion, posted a 76.
Olivos Golf Club plays to a par of 72 for the women and 71 for the men.
“It was a very good day,” said Canada’s team coach Henry Brunton. “We are pleased to be in contention after two days. We are just trying to keep our players focused and respect the golf courses because there is not a lot of room for error. We want them to understand the old axiom that it is a marathon not a sprint.”
In the men’s competition, Canada leads at 293, followed by Argentina and the USA tied for second place at 294.
In the women’s competition, the USA leads with a total of 295. Canada and Colombia are tied for second place at 299.
The Copa de las Americas is a biennial team event for amateurs in North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean that began in 2003.
The event features three competitions – overall, men and women. Fifteen men’s teams and 12 women’s teams will play 72 holes of stroke play with the lowest aggregate score claiming trophies in each of the three competitions.
Olympic Honor – Canada’s Nick Taylor has been selected as an Olympic Torch Bearer for the Winter Games in Vancouver. He will do a 300-meter stretch in the small British Columbia town of Merrit at 7 a.m. on Feb. 7. It is two hours by car from his hometown of Abbottsford. “It’s cool. It’s quite an honor to have the Olympics in Vancouver. I would have like to run in my hometown but I had no control over that. I guess I’ll just get a track suit, run and then go back to sleep.”
Home Course Advantage – Since the Copa de las Americas began in 2003, a home country team has never won the overall trophy. Despite being in fifth position after 36 holes, Argentina hopes to change that trend.
Amateur Team Event – From 1952 to 1967, an international team event, called the Americas Cup, was held between Canada, Mexico and the USA. Nine competitions were held and conducted at match play. Among those who competed were Ken Venturi, Harvie Ward and Bill Campbell for the USA and Gary Cowan and Moe Norman for Canada. Venturi won the 1964 U.S. Open, while Campbell (1964) and Cowan (1966 and 1971) captured U.S. Amateur titles.
Olivos Again On International Stage – Olivos Golf Club, opened in 1952, served as the site of the Eisenhower Trophy competition at the 1972 World Amateur Team Championship. The Women’s World Amateur Team Championship was played at The Hindu Club. That year, the USA, with Ben Crenshaw, Vinny Giles, Marty West and Mark Hayes won the championship. In October, the competition comes to Argentina for the second time.
Records – Peter Uihlein’s 69 tied for the lowest second-round score in Copa history. Jessica Korda (69) and Jennifer Song (75) combined for a 144, the lowest second-round score in Copa history. Korda’s score was the lowest second-round women’s score in Copa history. Puerto Rico’s Rafael Campos continues to hold the men’s individual lead at 143.
Story written by Pete Kowalski, manager of championship communications for the USGA. E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.