Korea’s Hye-Jin Choi, Min-Ji Park and Hyun-Kyung Park may be firmly focused on winning the Women’s World Amateur Team Championships (WWATC) for the fourth time in their country’s history tomorrow but if they look back at the record books they will find that they have an opportunity to make history too.
They lead Switzerland by 14 shots on 19-under-par going into the final round and they could carve their own niche in the history of the Espirito Santo Trophy if they produce a final round flourish at the Mayakoba El Camaleon course tomorrow.
The current record winning margin is held by the United States, who won the 1998 Espirito Santo Trophy at the Prince’s Country Club in Santiago, Chile with a total score of 558, 21 strokes ahead of Italy and Germany, who finished tied for second on 579.
The margin of victory broke the previous record winning margin of 17 strokes, which was jointly held by the USA teams of 1982, who finished ahead of New Zealand at Geneva Golf Club in Switzerland, and 1976, beating France into second place at Vilamoura in Portugal.
Jenny Chuasiriporn, who also finished runner-up in both the US Women’s Open and the US Women’s Amateur in 1998, was the star performer that year, posting rounds of 71-65-69-71 for a 12-under-par total of 276, beating compatriot Wendy Ward’s lowest total score posted at Le Golf National, France four years earlier. The second round 65 recorded by the 21-year-old Duke University scholar also equalled the then lowest individual round set by Korea’s Se Ri Pak at the same venue in 1994.
Chuasiriporn’s team-mates Kellee Booth and Brenda Corrie Keuhn combined four more sub-par rounds to propel the USA to the top of the leaderboard on 18-under-par and lift the Espirito Santo Trophy for the 13th time.
However, Korea has an impressive record in recent editions of the Espirito Santo Trophy. Indeed, in 2010, they set the lowest ever total score of 546 to win by 17 strokes ahead of the United States.
Breaking the record score for 72 holes tomorrow would require two rounds in the mid 60s at the challenging Mayakoba El Camaleon course but no-one would rule it out given the way the Korean players have performed this week.