U.S. takes the lead with record day at WWATC
U.S. team members hug at the WWATC (USGA photo)
U.S. team members hug at the WWATC (USGA photo)

DUBLIN, Ireland (Aug. 30, 2018) – The United States stormed into the lead Thursday in the second round of the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship on the strength a pair of 7-under 65s from Jennifer Kupcho and Kristen Gillman. The Americans now have a one-shot lead on Korea, the defending champion, heading into the final round at Carton House.

First-round leader Japan dropped to third but is only three shots out of first place.

“They are all world-class players,” said USA captain Stasia Collins. “They know how to play; they know their games; they played to their strengths, and they all struck the ball very well.”

The U.S. last won the Espirito Santo Trophy in 1998. On Wednesday, NCAA champion Kupcho and U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Gillman came out on fire. Playing on the par-73 O’Meara Course, Gillman logged three birdies in her first four holes and Kupcho added two more. Even the throw-out score was impressive. Lilia Vu had a 4-under 69.

“I definitely hit the ball well today, but I still missed a lot of putts and hit it into the hazard on one hole,” said Gillman. “I guess that’s good news, but we can still go lower.”

The U.S. team is now 18 under through 36 holes, which is a new scoring record for the event. Kupcho is 10 under, which has her third among individuals. The low individual will be recognized at the end of the tournament, but not given an official award.

The low round of the day belonged to Korea’s Ayean Cho, who had a 64 on the O’Meara Course. Cho, who opened with 68, is 13 under for the week while Korea is 17 under as a team.

As for Japan, Yuka Yasuda backed up an opening 65 with a second-round 67 at the O’Meara Course to keep her team in contention. The team also counted a 72 from Yuna Nishimura in the second round.

The leaderboard spaces out a little after Japan, with China standing in fourth at 11 under, four shots back. Ireland, the home team, is tied for 10th. Olivia Mehaffey, the powerful Arizona State junior who impressed early this summer at the Curtis Cup, opened with 70 but had even-par 73 on the O’Meara Course on Thursday. She has been the low member of her team both days.

ABOUT THE Women's World Amateur Team

In 1958 the United States Golf Association asked The R&A to join them in sponsoring a world-wide amateur golf team event to be played biennially in non-Walker Cup years. Between 35 and 40 nations were represented at the first meeting and President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented the trophy which bears his name. The committee of the event was to be known as the World Amateur Golf Council and is now the International Golf Federation. Teams of four players from each country competed over 72 holes with the leading three scores from each round to count. The first competition was held between 29 nations at St Andrews, with Australia beating the United States in a play-off. In 2002 the format changed to teams of three with the two leading scores to count.

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