ANTALYA, Turkey (Sept. 29, 2012) -- Defending champion Republic of Korea maintained its lead after the third round of the 2012 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship (WWATC) with a 54-hole total of 11-under-par 421 at Gloria Golf Club.
The Koreans are five strokes ahead of New Zealand (6-under-par 426) and six strokes in front of Canada and Australia (427).
Hyo-Joo Kim, No. 3 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), shot a 2-under 70 on Gloria Golf Club’s Old Course and teammate Kyu-Jung Baek posted a 1-under 71. Kim, 17, won the Suntory Ladies Open on the Japan LPGA Tour in June with a final-round 61 and finished fourth at the Evian Masters in 2012.
“Today was not as good as we had expected,” said Korean captain Hyung-Mo Kang. “Everybody will play better tomorrow but today, we missed a lot of putts. The greens are hard to read.”
The Women’s World Amateur Team Championship is a biennial international amateur competition conducted by the International Golf Federation, which comprises national governing bodies of golf in 126 countries and international professional tours. The competition, which is being held for the 25th time, is rotated among three geographic zones: Asia-Pacific, Americas and Europe-Africa.
This year’s event is hosted by the Turkish Golf Federation. The teams play for the Espirito Santo Trophy. The IGF is the international federation for golf for the International Olympic Committee and will conduct the Olympic golf competition in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
In each round, the total of the two lowest scores from each team constitutes the team score for the round. The four-day (72-hole) total is the team’s score for the championship.
Korea is vying to become the first team to win consecutive championships since the USA in 1988 and 1990. Korea’s 54-hole lead is not as large as it was in 2010 (13 strokes) and Kang fully realizes the team’s work is not complete.
“In a team competition, you never know,” Kang said. “Even if it is 10 strokes, you never know, it is never safe.”
Second-place New Zealand posted a 5-under-par 67 from 15-year-old Lydia Ko, No.1 in the WAGR. The reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion and winner of the LPGA Tour’s Canadian Open hit all 18 greens for the second consecutive day, but did not make a birdie until the ninth hole.
“She had to be very patient today and she responded with birdies on the last three holes,” said New Zealand captain Libby Steele.
Despite trailing the defending champions, Steele understands the task at hand.
“We never leaderboard-watch,” she said. “You just stay with your game plan and your swing processes. Then you hope the putts drop because this tournament is won on the greens."
Spain and the USA are tied for fifth at 428. The Americans shot 137 – the second-lowest third-round score in Espirito Santo history – thanks to a 5-under-67 from Lisa McCloskey and a 2-under 70 from Erynne Lee.
“I am quite thrilled we are getting to the form that I expected from them earlier in the week,” said USA captain Carol Semple Thompson. “Fortunately, they came crashing through today.”
Germany holds seventh place at 429 with Finland and Japan tied for eighth at 430 and France in 10th at 431.
The host team from Turkey stands in 38th.
The upper half of the draw will play Gloria Golf Club’s New Course in the fourth round and the lower half will play the Old Course.