Notes: The USA World Amateur Team was a powerhouse: Steven Fox was the reigning the U.S. Amateur champion, Chris Williams was the #1 ranked amateur in the world, and Justin Thomas was the Haskins and Jack Nicklaus Award winner as the USA’s best college player in 2012.
USA captain Jim Vernon, Justin Thomas, Chris Williams and Steven Fox
All three would turn pro in 2013, but their paths would diverge from there.
Today, the 24-year-old Thomas is the #4 ranked golfer in the world, the PGA champion and the Fedex Cup winner. Williams plays on the Mackenzie Tour (PGA Tour Canada), currently 22nd on the money list for 2017. Fox currently plays on the Adams Pro Tour after playing on the Web.com Tour in 2014 and 2016.
Thomas' 5-year rise has been meteoric
Five years ago today, October 7, 2012, the USA shot a record-setting score of 24-under-par 404 to win the weather-shortened 2012 World Amateur Team Championship (WATC) by five strokes over Mexico at the par-71 Antalya Golf Club in Turkey, thereby claiming the Eisenhower Trophy for the 14th time.
Steven Fox, of Hendersonville, Tenn., the 2012 U.S. Amateur champion
and Chris Williams, of Moscow, Idaho, No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking
(WAGR), both shot 2-under 69 in the final round for the USA. Justin Thomas, of Goshen, Ky., posted a non-counting 1-under 70.
“It has been since 2004 that the trophy has found its way to the USA and it is great to have it coming back to our shores,” said USA captain Jim Vernon, a past president of the USGA. “They are three guys who bonded well and played golf as a team.”
The previous low total for 54 holes was 407 by the USA in Puerto Rico in the 2004 WATC, which was also played at 54 holes because of weather.
“It’s fun to win as an individual,” said Williams, a University of Washington senior who won the 2012 Western Amateur
. “But to win as a team is awesome and it doesn’t get any better than doing it as representative of the USA.”
Despite a strong challenge from Mexico, which finished second at 19-under 409, led by Sebastian Vazquez’s individual low total of 15-under 199, the USA led from the start to the finish, setting records along the way.
The Mexican team, playing in its 26th WATC, won its first medal.
“We had good expectations this week but this is a dream come true,” said Mexican captain Jorge Coughlan. “I played in this a long time ago ) and being captain is very satisfying. This is Sebastian’s last amateur tournament and there is no better way to go out than winning the World Amateur. He is going to be a heck of a professional.”
The Americans, in winning their 24th medal in the 28 Eisenhower Trophy competitions, broke team marks for lowest 18-, 36- and 54-hole scores.
“I would go back to the first round
where Chris shot 64 and Justin shot 67 and we were 13 under,” said Fox of the key point in the championship. “We just built from there.”
Four strokes behind Mexico at 15-under-par 413 as three-way bronze medalists are: defending champion France, Germany and the Republic of Korea.
Canada and Norway tied for sixth at 417, with England in eighth at 418, and Japan, Venezuela and Spain tied for ninth at 419.
The World Amateur Team Championship is a biennial international amateur competition, begun in 1958. It is conducted by the International Golf Federation (IGF), which comprises national governing bodies of golf in 126 countries and international professional tours. The competition, which is being held for the 28th 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 Eisenhower 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 54-hole total is the team’s score for the championship.
Turkey, the host team, finished tied for 36th.
The winning team takes custody of the Eisenhower Trophy for two years and each team member receives a gold medal. The second-place team members receive silver medals and the third-place teams receive bronze medals.