MIAMI, Fla. (Jan. 4, 2013) -- Sparked by a record-setting day by Albin Choi and Corey Conners, Team Canada rose to the top of the leader board with a two-day total of 14-over 590 following Friday’s second round of the 2013 Copa de las Americas, being conducted on the par-72 TPC Blue Monster Course at Doral Golf Resort & Spa Miami.
Choi (68) and Conners (69) combined for a 7-under 137, a 16-stroke improvement from Thursday’s opening round and the lowest second-round score in Copa de las Americas history. Augusta James shot 76 and Brooke Mackenzie Henderson posted 77 for Canada.
Day-one leader Argentina sits one back of the Canadians at 15-over 591, followed by Colombia (592), Mexico (594) and the United States of America (597).
Colombia remains atop the men’s leader board at 1-under 287, followed by Mexico (289) and Canada (290). The Canadian and Argentine women retained their shared lead in the women’s championship at 12-over 300, two strokes ahead of the USA (302).
The 2013 Copa de las Americas, conducted by the Americas Golf Association and hosted by the United States Golf Association, is a team event for amateurs in North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. It consists of three 72-hole stroke-play competitions – overall, men and women – and the competitions end on Sunday.
Choi, a junior at North Carolina State University, recovered after shooting 4-over 76 on the tough Blue Monster during the first round.
“I didn’t play too well yesterday, so I kind of cleared my head, came out and had a better one today,” said Choi, winner of the 2012 Ontario Amateur Championship.
That better day included seven birdies, and his score would have been better if not for “a little hiccup” on the famed 18th hole. After hitting his tee shot into the water, Choi got up and down from a greenside bunker for a hard-earned bogey.
The Canadians took the overall lead despite an off day from the women’s contingent. Henderson, whose 71 on Thursday was the low women’s score of the day, was unable to maintain her momentum on Friday, registering six bogeys to only one birdie.
“I was able to make a few putts yesterday when I needed to,” said the 15-year-old Henderson. “Today, those putts just slid by.”
Canada won the first two overall Copa de las Americas championships, in 2003 and 2005, and Choi would like to wrest the trophy back from the USA, which won in 2007 and 2010.
“I definitely think we have a very good chance,” he said. “But there’s still two more days left, so we’ll see how it goes. It’s exciting, just thinking about it.”
Peru’s Joaquin Lolas, who plays for Florida State University, shot 5-under 67, a second-round record for the men’s championship. Arizona State University’s Laura Blanco, of Colombia, had the women’s low score of 2-under 70, the second-lowest women’s second-round score in Copa history.
The struggles continued for the United States, which is hosting the Copa de las Americas for the first time. World No. 1 Chris Williams, who is recovering from mononucleosis, and reigning U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox each made only one birdie en route to a 3-over 75 and 2-over 74, respectively. Erynne Lee (3-over 75) and Lindy Duncan (6-over 78) were also unable to better their efforts from the first round. The United States has never finished worse than fifth in the overall championship, a position it holds halfway through the competition.