KARUIZAWA, Japan (3 Sept.) – Canada, bolstered by a 66 from Brooke Henderson and a 69 from Augusta James, posted a record score of 9-under-par 135 to hold a two-stroke lead after the first round of the 2014 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship (WWATC) at Karuizawa 72 Golf East.
Canada’s 135 is the lowest first-round score in WWATC history, eclipsing the previous mark of 136 by the USA in Argentina in 2010. Two-time defending champion Republic of Korea is second at 137, followed by France at 140 in third.
“I was really pleased with the first day,” said Canadian captain Liz Hoffman. “You are not going to win on the first day but you can certainly put yourself behind the 8-ball. There are a lot of fabulous teams out there. It was very important for all three players to be solid and they were.”
Henderson, 16, who is No.2 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™, posted four birdies on her first seven holes and finished without a bogey on the par-72 Oshitate Course at Karuizawa. Her 66 is tied for the second-lowest first-round score in WWATC history. Henderson, the low amateur at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, won the CN Canadian Women’s Professional Tour event in Quebec in 2012 at age 14.
“My ball striking was very good today,” said Henderson, runner-up at 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur. “I gave myself a lot of chances coming in. I had four or five chances from inside 15 feet but I didn’t make them all. We knew it was important to get some solid rounds in and now we have to follow that up.”
The 21-year-old James, who made five birdies against two bogeys, is a senior at North Carolina State University in the USA and she won the 2014 Canadian Women’s Amateur.
Both Henderson and James are playing in their second WWATC. Canada discarded a 1-under 71 from Brittany Marchand.
Korea, vying to become the first team to win three consecutive Espirito Santo Trophy competitions since the USA in 1980, 1982 and 1984, was led by So-Young Lee, 17, the gold-medalist at the recent Youth Olympic Games in China, who fired a 5-under 67 on the Oshitate Course. Her teammate Hye-Jin Choi notched a 2-under 70.
“They do have some pressure (as defending champions) but this the first time for them to be in the world championship, so we told them to enjoy it,” said Korean captain See-Hoon Chang. “It is better for them not to get pressure. The first few holes I was worried and then they got into the pace. I am very satisfied with their play.”
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.
France’s Mathilda Cappeliez (69) and Celine Boutier (71) combined for the team’s 4-under total. Both players competed at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open.
India, Ireland and Italy were tied for fourth at 141. Mexico, South Africa, Spain and the USA were tied for seventh place at 2-under 142. Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Philippines and Sweden shared 11th place at 143.The host team from Japan finished tied for 16th.
For complete results, visit www.igfgolf.org.