Antalya, Turkey (5 October) – The six-hour weather delay that held up the start of the second round of the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship was, in some sense, short for Slovakia.
They are used to waiting.
The European team, which is competing in its eighth Eisenhower Trophy competition, had not finished better than a tie for 44th position in 2008. In fact, the developing golf program was usually placed somewhere in the 50s.
But at Cornelia Golf Club, the team positioned itself for a best-ever finish and while the second round is not complete, Slovakia currently stands in 14th place.
Peter Valasek, 19, who plays college golf at Coastal Carolina University in the USA, shot is country’s best score in its championship history – a 5-under-par 67 that included six birdies and just one bogey. The previous low score was a 1-under-par 71 at De Zalze Golf Club at the 2006 Eisenhower Trophy by Peter Svajlen.
Valasek’s teammate Juraj Zvarik, 26, notched a 2-over 74. Martin Tavoda must finish his round Saturday but he faced a par putt on the 18th hole that would give him a 1-over 73.
Valasek and Zvarik are both playing in their third WATC.
“It was tough to get started after waiting six hours,” Valasek said. “I just tried to stay patient but after I was three under after eight holes, I wanted to finish well.”
Putting kept Zvarik from something better than 74.
“I am very disappointed in my putting,” he said. “I have many putts that were short and I only made one.”
Slovakia, which was tied for 25th place after the first round was ready for this international competition, said coach Peter Wieger, who played in the WATC four times.
“We went to the club at 6:10 a.m. and after waiting nearly seven hours with updates every 30 minutes it was pretty tough to try to play,” Wieger said. “But, we were motivated.”
While expectations are difficult, Slovakia has a goal.
“If we finish in the first half, that will be a good result,” Wieger said. “To have Slovakia in a good position shows we are playing as we can.”
Asked if the country was following the scores, he smiled and said: “It is just crazy. It is like a hockey game in the golf community.”
Story written by Pete Kowalski, WATC Media Officer
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