Cayetana Fernandez Garcia-Poggio (International Golf Federation Photo)
Spain, bolstered by two of the top-ranked amateurs in the world, holds a one-stroke lead over Canada following Wednesday’s opening round of the 30th Women’s World Amateur Team Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Cayetana Fernandez Garcia-Poggio posted a 4-under-par 68 and 2023 European Ladies’ Amateur champion Julia Lopez Ramirez (No. 5) added a 69 to position Spain at 7-under-par 137, one head of the Canadians and two in front of Ireland.
Fernandez Garcia-Poggio's round included six birdies against two bogeys. Lopez Ramirez, who was one of two amateurs to make the 36-hole cut in the 2023 AIG Women’s Open, totaled four birdies and a bogey, while teammate Carla Bernat Escuder posted a non-counting 70.
“I was hitting good shots, but the putts weren’t going in, so I just like ‘wait, be patient,’” said Fernandez Garcia-Poggio, a freshman at Texas A&M University. “I almost hit a hole in one [on the fourth hole] and that helped me make more birdies.”
Spain, which finished fifth last year in France after a heartbreaking double-bogey from Fernandez Garcia-Poggio on the 72nd hole to fall out of the lead, is seeking its first WWATC medal since claiming silver in 2008 in Australia.
“I’m really happy for us with this start,” said Spain Captain Mar Ruiz de la Torre. “They are playing really well. The practice rounds were just like today. We can’t ask for a better start in the tournament.”
Canada rode a pair of 3-under 69s in the afternoon from 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up Monet Chun and 2023 Canadian Women’s Amateur champion Lauren Kim to post a 6-under total of 138. Chun, who became the first Canadian to make the cut at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April, tallied six birdies and three bogeys.
“There’s a lot of golf to play but a good start is always helpful,” said Chun, a senior at the University of Michigan. “I’m hitting it pretty consistent. Some of the putts went in so that really helped with the birdies, but hopefully tomorrow I’ll make less bogeys and put in a good round.”
Ireland’s Sara Byrne, India’s Avani Prashanth and Japan’s Mamika Shinchi matched Fernandez Garcia-Poggio's 4-under 68 for the low rounds of the day. Ireland used a combination of Byrne’s 68 and a 71 from Beth Coulter to post a 5-under 139 and hold solo third place.
Germany, India and the Republic of Korea share fourth place at 140, three strokes behind Spain.
Playing in its sixth WWATC, India had its best start in competition history on the strength of Prashanth’s 68 and an even-par 72 from Mannat Brar.
Germany was led by a bogey-free, 3-under 69 from Chiara Horder, the team’s playing captain who is a junior at Texas Tech University, and a 71 from Celina Sattelkau.
“We want to be up there [on the leaderboard], we want to get medals and play for the win,” said Horder, the 2023 British Women’s Amateur champion. “It feels good to have a good start and to contribute to the team.”
The host nation United Arab Emirates, which is competing in its first WWATC, is in 31st place (6-over 150) after the opening round.
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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