Kelly Kraft powers USA to lead at Spirit International Amateur
TRINITY, Texas (Nov. 4, 2011) -- The U.S.
Team waited for
the sun to come out to shine.
On crisp, sun-splashed day at the top-ranked
golf course in the state, the Americans took
advantage of sublime playing conditions to
erase a three-shot deficit in the third round
of at The Spirit International. Riding a back-
nine birdie barrage by Emily Tubert and a
clutch, 13-footer for birdie on the final hole
by Kelly Kraft, the U.S. squad takes a three-
shot lead into Saturday’s final round
atWhispering Pines Golf Club.
“It was just perfect out there today. You
couldn’t script a better day,” said Tubert, the
Arkansas sophomore from California who
birdied the 11th, 12th, 15th and 17th holes
to lead the U.S. charge. “You could really go
at the flags and be aggressive.”
The U.S. finished at 9-under-par 135 for the
day to push its three-day total to 20-under.
The Americans are three shots clear of
Denmarkand four past Argentina. Both the
Danes and Argentines matched the U.S. in
round three with 9-under 135. Canada,
which started the day with a three-shot lead
over the 20-team, international field, fell into
a tie for third with Argentina. Canada posted
a 2-under 142 in the third round.
The final round of the sixth playing of The
Spirit International begins Saturday at 8:30
a.m. By the end of the day, gold, silver and
bronze medals will be awarded to players in
five competitions: International Team, Men’s
Team, Women’s Team, Men’s Individual and
Women’s Individual (Final round tee times
and live scoring are available at
After a slight frost and temperatures in the
mid-30s Friday morning pushed back the tee
times one hour, the mercury began to rise.
And the scores dropped. By midday, it was
sunny and 70 degrees with just a hint of a
north breeze. It had to feel like a bit of
heaven compared to Thursday, when 30-
mph gusts of wind made the mid-50s feel 10
The field of international star amateurs that
includes 75 national champions and top-
ranked players in their respective countries
took advantage. Five different teams held
leads at one point on Thursday. Canada
started the day on top, but Germany caught
fire and had it to 11-under through 13 holes
to take the lead for a stretch.
After Kraft hit it to a foot on No. 9 and
kicked in the birdie, while Tubert birdied the
11th and 12th, the U.S. joined Korea and
Germany for a brief three-way tie for the
lead. Denmark’s Kasper Estrup and Thomas
Sorensen combined for four birdies on the
back nine to the top of the leaderboard until
the final U.S. rally down the stretch.
“In the six-year history of this event, we
have more teams with a shot to win the gold
medal for the International Team
competition than ever,” tournament director
Eric Fredricksen said. “This is the closest
Spirit by far.”
For more than four hours, the German team
played beautifully and looked to be in total
control of the 72-hole best-ball stroke play
event. Marcel Schneider and Benedict Staben
displayed flawless teamwork with seven
combined birdies through 16 holes. Neither
German birdied the same hole.
It fell apart on the par-5 17th, however.
Staben found the water on his approach and
Schneider flew the green from 100 yards.
They finished with a double-bogey on the
hole. That was unfortunate, but it was worse
a group ahead. The German women both hit
into the water on the diabolical par-4 18th
and finished with a triple-bogey.
In just 20 minutes, the team dropped five
shots. The sequence dropped Germany from
17-under par and the lead to 12-under. The
Germans will start the final round in sixth
“We feel nothing,” said a dejected Lara
Katzy, who made two birdies on the day for
Germany. “It feels like a big, empty hole…
and we fell into it. But we will come back
tomorrow. We know we can make birdies.
We have to.”
Kraft’s four birdies for the U.S. ran his
individual count to 10 on the week. The
reigning U.S. Amateur and two-time Texas
Amateur champion is tied with Canada’s
Mackenzie Hughes and four others for the
lead in the Men’s Individual competition.
“We feel really good,” Kraft said. “We’re on
top. We were three shots back and now
we’re three ahead. Hopefully we do the
same thing tomorrow and by the time we
get to the 18th hole, maybe we can have a
About The Spirit
The 2011 Spirit International features 80
participants from 20 countries representing
six continents. Country teams are comprised
of national amateur champions and top-
ranked players. The format of play for the
competition is 72 holes of Four-Ball Stroke
Play. The men’s and women’s Four-Ball score
is combined for the International Team
competition. There is also a separate men’s
and women’s team and individual
View results for The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship