Kristen Gillman (USGA photo)
DUBLIN, Ireland. – Even though the U.S. has claimed the Espirito Santo Trophy, the hardware awarded at the World Amateur Team Championship, more times than any other country, an American team hasn’t come out on top in this event since 1998. The Americans will take a five-shot lead into the final round at Carton House as they look to end that winless streak.
Led by an NCAA champion and the U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, the U.S. extended its second-round lead on defending champion Korea. The U.S. is now 19 under for 54 holes with one round left to play.
The U.S. team was 1 under as a team on Friday despite windy conditions. Jennifer Kupcho, who won the NCAA individual title in May, had 1-under 71 on the Montgomerie Course while Women’s Amateur champion Kristen Gillman had even-par 72.
“It was a really tough day, and everyone had to grind,” said U.S. captain Stasia Collins. “We were on 12 and we had two players at plus 3, and I told them that their scores might count, and they had to grind it out. They worked very hard and made some birdies coming in. It was great.”
Kupcho overcame a shaky start and posted four birdies on her last four holes to reach 1 under. She will return to Wake Forest for her senior season upon leaving Ireland.
“I was struggling with putting so I decided instead of lining up the ball, I would set the ball down the putt like I do in practice,” said Kupcho. “I don’t’ focus that much and I just hit it. It worked really well, and I made some putts and got my confidence back and I birdied the last two holes, which was a bonus.”
The Korean team, which began the day one stroke back, was briefly tied with the U.S. in the middle of the round. Top Korean player Ayean Cho posted a 1-under 71 but the other counting score was a 4-over 76 from Seo Yun Kwon for a day’s total of 3-over 147.
Japan kept its place in third position at 421 followed by resurgent host Ireland in fourth at 430 and Italy, Germany and People’s Republic of China tied for fifth at 431. Completing the top 10 were Austria in eighth at 432, Mexico in ninth at 433 and Denmark in 10th at 434.
Ireland, the home team, had the score of the day – a 2-under 142 made possible by Olivia Mehaffey’s 2-under 70 on the Montgomerie Course.
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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