Buenos Aires, Argentina (Oct. 30, 2010) – France maintained a one-stroke lead over Denmark and a six-stroke edge over the USA through 36 holes of the weather-shortened 2010 World Amateur Team Championship.
The second round, suspended twice because of dangerous weather, was played in constant rain Friday and was completed Saturday. The French were one of the 34 teams, in the field of 69, that completed the round the day after they started it. The championship has been reduced to 54 holes and will conclude Sunday.
The third round began at 4 p.m. (local time) Saturday and it was suspended at 6:56 p.m. at both courses because of darkness. The third round will resume at 9 a.m. Sunday and the leading groups begin play at 10:30 a.m.
Leading France was 2010 Scottish Amateur champion Romain Wattel, who shot a 1-under-par 70 at Olivos Golf Club. Wattel, who will turn professional shortly after the Eisenhower Trophy competition, won a European Challenge Tour event in September. His teammate, Alexander Levy, fired a 1-over- 72 in the second round and the French are at 7-under- par 279
"The last two days were very tough days to play golf because of the weather conditions,” Wattel said. “The rain and the cold on Friday and the wind on Saturday make the Olivos course very difficult to be under par.”
France led the Eisenhower Trophy through 54 holes in Malaysia in 2002 but was unable to withstand a final-round charge from the USA and finished second. The French tied for third in 1992 in their only other medal performance.
"The target in this tournament is to be the first,” Wattel said. “We came to Argentina to win the Trophy.”
Denmark, at 6-under-par 280, made a strong move in Friday’s rain at Buenos Aires Golf Club. Tied for third after the first round, the Danes pushed into second behind a 69 from Joachim Hansen, the 2010 Finnish Amateur champion, and a 72 from Lucas Bjerregaard, the 2010 European Amateur winner.
After more than an inch of rain Friday, the players faced sunny but very windy conditions during the completion of the second round and the beginning of the third round Saturday.
The USA advanced from tied for ninth into third place at 1-under-par 285 on the scores of David Chung (70) and Peter Uihlein (72), who were 2010 U.S. Amateur finalists.
"It was a grind, struggle, frustrating and exciting, all wrapped into one,” said Uihlein of their rainy round on Friday.
In the top 10, the USA was followed by New Zealand, in fourth, at even par 286, Sweden (287) in fifth and Canada (288) in sixth. England, Italy and Colombia were tied for seventh at 289 and defending champion Scotland rocketed 31 places to 10th with a 4-under-par 140 as James Byrne shot the best round of the day at 4-under-par 68 Buenos Aires Golf Club.
The largest comebacks by a champion are seven strokes by the USA in 1968, four strokes by Australia in 1958 and three strokes by the USA in 2002.
The top 17 teams and Switzerland (tied for 17th), will not start their third and final round until Sunday. A total of 36 teams started their third rounds on Saturday.
In the third round, the leading teams play Buenos Aires Golf Club and the others play Olivos Golf Club.
Conducted by the International Golf Federation, which comprises national governing bodies of golf in more than 120 countries, the World Amateur Team Championship is a biennial international amateur competition, which is rotated among three geographic zones: Asia-Pacific, Americas and Europe-Africa. This year the event is hosted by the Asociación Argentina de Golf. The teams play for the Eisenhower Trophy. The winning team receives custody of the Eisenhower Trophy for the ensuing year and gold medals. The second-place team receives silver medals and the third-place team receives bronze medals.
Each team has two or three players and plays 18 holes of stroke play for four days. In each round, the total of the two lowest scores by players from each team constitutes the team score for the round. The four-day (72 holes) total is the team’s score for the championship.
Story written by Pete Kowalski, IGF Media Officer