Teenager Marco Florioli’s bogey-free 6-under-par 66 and a 3-under 68 from Pietro Bovari led Italy to the gold medal in the World Amateur Team Championship Saturday at Le Golf National. It was the country’s first medal in 32 WATC appearances.
“The key point today is that I have seen our players winning without thinking about the results,” said Italian captain Matteo Delpodio. “They were winners on the golf course. When you see players playing this way with this attitude, the results do not matter. What matters is that they played like champions.”
Italy’s 72-hole hole score of 31-under-par 541 was one stroke better than silver-medal winning Sweden and four better than the bronze medal winners from the USA.
In a tightly contested back nine, Italy and Sweden gained a slight separation from the field, but the par-5 14th hole proved to be pivotal because of the play of Florioli and Bovari.
Florioli was the first Italian player out and holed a chip shot on the 14th and Bovari followed with an eagle for a three-stroke gain on Sweden.
“I was feeling that I was going to make a birdie on that chip, and I made it,” said Florioli, a 17-year-old from Bergamo. “I played the last four holes in par, par, par, par and that is a great final on this golf course.”
Bovari, a college golfer at the University of Virginia, reached the 569-yard 14th with a 3-wood that stopped on the green, 70 feet from the hole.
“Sometimes it happens,” Bovari said of his eagle putt. “Today was one of those days. It went in the dead middle of the cup. I didn’t have the strength in me to yell. I put my arms up to celebrate.”
Italy’s Filippo Celli, the low amateur in the 2022 Open Championship, shot a non-counting 70.
“Florioli played so well on the back nine with a fantastic attitude,” said Delpodio. “He was under pressure, but he was making it so easy. Bovari had two big putts on 13 and 14. To win such a tournament there must be some magic. You cannot pre-plan everything. There must be some moments when you understand everything is coming together. I realized on 14 that it was our moment. I was pretty sure it was going to end with a victory.”
Italy is one of nine nations to participate in all 32 World Amateur Team Championships since 1958. Their previous best finishes were a tie for fourth in 2004 and 2008.
“I thought about playing my best golf and I think I did,” said Florioli. “I shot 6 under bogey-free in the last round and I am proud of it. It is a memory forever because it is the first time for Italy in history. It’s a great feeling.”
Completing the top 10, Norway was fourth, its best-ever finish, Spain was fifth, France was sixth, Japan, the 18- and 36-hole leader was seventh, Austria and Wales shared eighth and Finland was 10th.
Italy receives custody of the Eisenhower Trophy until the next World Amateur Team Championship in Dubai, UAE, in October of 2023.
Sweden’s Tobias Jonsson was the low individual with a score of 17-under 269.
For the 3rd-place USA team, Austin Greaser finished 3rd at 15 under, Michael Thorbjornsen tied for 11th at 11 under, and Gordon Sargent tied for 36th at 3 under par.
ABOUT THE Men'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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