*Image credit: Steve Gibbons/USGA
Sept. 7th, 2014 – Karuizawa, Japan (VIGolf.ca) – Team Canada had history in their sights but it wasn’t meant to be as Australia, with a combined 131 from world no. 1 ranked Minjee Lee and Su Oh in the final round, came from seven strokes back to win the 2014 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship (WWATC) at 29-under-par 547 at Karuizawa 72 Golf East’s Iriyama Course.
Canada, which led on each of the first three days and was vying for its first Women’s World Amateur victory, finished second at 27-under 549 to capture the silver medal.
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont. (66-69-66-68–269) and Brittany Marchand of Orangeville, Ont. (71-70-69-72–282) combined for a final round 4-under 140 but it was enough to hold off the surging Aussies. Teammate Augusta James of Bath, Ont. (69-76-72-75—292) shot a non-counting final round 75 to round out the trio.
“We did our absolute best out there today and it was just a little bit short,” said team captain, Liz Hoffman. “I look at that leaderboard and I think about what we’ve done the last four days and I am so proud of our girls. They’ve been fantastic and so wonderful to work with.”
Australia, which won the Espirito Santo Trophy for the third time, took the lead through six holes of the final round as Lee, No. 1 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™, was 4 under through five holes on an eagle and two birdies and Oh was 3 under with three birdies. Lee, 18, finished with an eagle and five birdies for a 65 while Oh, who is No.6 in the WAGR™, tallied six birdies for a 66. Neither recorded a bogey in their respective final rounds.
The Australians broke the mark for a final-round comeback of three strokes, which was set by their countrymen in 2002 in Malaysia. Their 72-hole total of 547 was one stroke shy of Korea’s record-low in 2010 and their final-round 131 is second-best all-time.
With her tournament score of 19-under par, Henderson, 16, finished as the low individual at the championship. Ranked No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, Henderson finished three strokes ahead of reigning World No. 1 Minjee Lee of Australia and her tournament score of 269 for the championship breaks the Women’s World Amateur mark of 274 set by Lydia Ko in 2012.
“Australia had a great round today, I was really impressed,” said Henderson. “They have very skilled players, including two in the top 10 in the world rankings, which is unbelievable. It’s a little disappointing to finish second but overall we had a really great week and played really well as a team.”
Canada’s runner-up finish marks the fourth time the squad has finished in second place in the race for the Espirito Santo trophy (’04, ’78, ’66). With the win, Australia put an end to Korea’s bid to become the first team to win three consecutive World Amateur titles – Australia also won in 1978 and 2002.
The Republic of Korea finished third, one stroke back of Canada at 26-under par in Saturday’s final. Denmark finished fourth at 556, followed by Sweden and the USA tied for fifth at 557, Mexico in seventh at 560, England and host Japan tied for eighth at 562 and the Philippines in 10th at 563.
The Women’s World Amateur Team Championship is a biennial international amateur competition conducted by the International Golf Federation (IGF), which comprises 137 national governing bodies in 131 countries. The competition, which is being held for the 26th time, is rotated among three geographic zones: Asia-Pacific, Americas and Europe-Africa.
This year’s event is hosted by the Japan Golf Association. The teams play for the Espirito Santo 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 four-day (72-hole) total is the team’s score for the championship.
The 2016 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship will be played in Cancun, Mexico.
The men’s competition for the Eisenhower Trophy gets underway on Sept. 10. Canada will be represented by Corey Conners (Listowel, Ont.), Taylor Pendrith (Richmond Hill, Ont.) and Adam Svensson (Surrey, B.C.).
CANADIAN INDIVIDUAL SCORES
1. Brooke Henderson, Smiths Falls, Ont. (69-66-69-68)
T20. Brittany Marchand, Orangeville, Ont. (71-70-69-72)
T51. Augusta James, Bath, Ont. (69-76-72-75)