ITALY WINS GOLD; ITS FIRST MEDAL IN 32 WORLD AMATEUR TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
Conducted by the International Golf Federation (www.IGFgolf.org) Hosted by the French Golf Federation (www.ffgolf.org) igfgolf.org/watc/watc-2022 | #WATC2022 and #IGFgolf | mediacenter.usga.org
When: 3 September 2022
What: 32nd World Amateur Team Championship for the Eisenhower Trophy
Where: Le Golf National (Albatross) and Golf de Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche (Red), Paris, France
Teenager Marco Florioli’s bogey-free 6-under-par 66 and a 3-under 68 from Pietro Bovari led Italy to the gold medal in the World Amateur Team Championship Saturday at Le Golf National. It was the country’s first medal in 32 WATC appearances.
“The key point today is that I have seen our players winning without thinking about the results,” said Italian captain Matteo Delpodio. “They were winners on the golf course. When you see players playing this way with this attitude, the results do not matter. What matters is that they played like champions.”
Italy’s 72-hole hole score of 31-under-par 541 was one stroke better than silver-medal winning Sweden and four better than the bronze medal winners from the USA.
In a tightly contested back nine, Italy and Sweden gained a slight separation from the field, but the par-5 14th hole proved to be pivotal because of the play of Florioli and Bovari.
Florioli was the first Italian player out and holed a chip shot on the 14th and Bovari followed with an eagle for a three-stroke gain on Sweden.
“I was feeling that I was going to make a birdie on that chip, and I made it,” said Florioli, a 17-year-old from Bergamo. “I played the last four holes in par, par, par, par and that is a great final on this golf course.”
Bovari, a college golfer at the University of Virginia, reached the 569-yard 14th with a 3-wood that stopped on the green, 70 feet from the hole.
“Sometimes it happens,” Bovari said of his eagle putt. “Today was one of those days. It went in the dead middle of the cup. I didn’t have the strength in me to yell. I put my arms up to celebrate.”
Italy’s Filippo Celli, the low amateur in the 2022 Open Championship, shot a non-counting 70.
“Florioli played so well on the back nine with a fantastic attitude,” said Delpodio. “He was under pressure, but he was making it so easy. Bovari had two big putts on 13 and 14. To win such a tournament there must be some magic. You cannot pre-plan everything. There must be some moments when you understand everything is coming together. I realized on 14 that it was our moment. I was pretty sure it was going to end with a victory.”
Italy is one of nine nations to participate in all 32 World Amateur Team Championships since 1958. Their previous best finishes were a tie for fourth in 2004 and 2008.
“I thought about playing my best golf and I think I did,” said Florioli. “I shot 6 under bogey-free in the last round and I am proud of it. It is a memory forever because it is the first time for Italy in history. It’s a great feeling.”
Completing the top 10, Norway was fourth, its best-ever finish, Spain was fifth, France was sixth, Japan, the 18- and 36-hole leader was seventh, Austria and Wales shared eighth and Finland was 10th.
Italy receives custody of the Eisenhower Trophy until the next World Amateur Team Championship in Dubai, UAE, in October of 2023.
Although there is no official recognition, Sweden’s Tobias Jonsson was the low individual with a score of 17-under 269.
Captain Jonnie Eriksson, Sweden: “I’m proud of the guys. They did all that I could ask of them. I am happy with the silver. Italy was good on the back nine today. You need to have a few small breaks coming with you. We did our best but today it was not good enough.”
Captain Diana Murphy, USA: “These guys are extremely competitive. I know they will be individually disappointed in winning the bronze but as a team both on and off the course, there is no question that they are gold-medal material.”
Austin Greaser, USA: “We just didn’t have everything fall our way this week. For me, it was a couple of swings and a couple of putts from being even lower. That water ball on [hole] 2 didn’t help so I was 2 over through two. Stuff like that keeps you from winning golf tournaments. It’s a fine line to win a golf tournament and that is what it was this week.”
- The USA added to its dominance in the medal count with its bronze. Since 1958, the USA has won 27 medals – 15 gold, nine and three bronze.
- Sweden now has seven medals, one gold, three silvers and three bronze.
- Italy’s four-round total of 541 matched the third-lowest score by a WATC champion. USA and Australia won with 534s in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
- Marco Florioli’s 65 tied the fourth-lowest score by an individual in the fourth round.
- Singapore will host the WATCs in 2025 and Morocco in 2027.
The 2023 World Amateur Team Championships will be played at Jumeirah Golf Estates (Fire Course) in Dubai, UAE. The women’s competition for the Espirito Santo Trophy will be played 18-21 October and the men’s competition for the Eisenhower Trophy will be played 25-28 October. Bonne nuit de France.