Korea, Spain share lead heading into final round in Abu Dhabi
30th Espirito Santo Trophy: 25-28 Oct. 2023
Abu Dhabi Golf Club (National Course), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
@OlympicGolf | #WATC2023 | #Rolex | igfgolf.org/watc
When: 27 October 2023
What: 30th Women’s World Amateur Team Championship for the Espirito Santo Trophy
Where: Abu Dhabi Golf Club (National Course), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Hyosong Lee, 14, posted a 5-under 67 on Friday to propel the Republic of Korea into a share of the lead with Spain after Round 3 of the 30th Women’s World Amateur Team Championship. The Koreans, who started the day two shots off the lead, and the Spaniards stand at 17-under-par 415, with Thailand one stroke back in solo third.
Lee, the winner of the last two Korean Women’s Amateurs, rode a hot putter with six birdies against one bogey while besting the field with 10 one-putts. Korea, which is seeking its fourth Espirito Santo Trophy in the last seven competitions, added a 71 from Minsol Kim, No. 4 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking®/WAGR®, to bring the team’s third round tally to a 6-under 138. Kyorim Seo carded a non-counting 71 as only two of each team’s best three scores count toward the day’s total.
“[Hyosong] putted very well today.” said Korean Captain SeHoon Chang. “They’ve had great work this week and I want to thank them for their play today because of the hot weather.”
The three co-leaders heading into Friday’s third round struggled to get anything going during their opening nine holes. Australia, Spain and Thailand all made the turn with team scores at even par or 1 under, while Korea emerged as the solo leader with a nine-hole total of 4 under par.
“The start was a little rough,” said Spain’s Julia Lopez Ramirez, the reigning European Ladies’ Amateur champion. “I went to my captain and my coaches on the back [nine] and I was like, ‘We need to come back somehow. I need to fight for this.’”
Lopez Ramirez and world No. 2 Cayetana Fernandez Garcia-Poggio led a back-nine charge for the Spaniards, combining for three birdies on the final three holes to jump back into a share of the lead. Spain is seeking its first Espirito Santo Trophy since 1992 and first medal since 2012.
“We have a lot of golf left to play tomorrow,” said Lopez Ramirez. “We’re excited to be in the lead and to have the opportunity to win this tournament.”
Also making a run on the back nine was Thailand. Reigning Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific champion Eila Galitsky birdied the par-4 17th and par-5 18th to post a 3-under 69 in addition to a 72 from Navaporn Soontreeyapas, who co-leads the individual scoring race.
“It’s the best feeling ever being in the final group and knowing that you have a chance to win the Espirito Santo Trophy,” said Galitsky. “Hopefully we can perform tomorrow.”
Chinese Taipei had the lowest team score on Friday and climbed six spots into fourth place (418) on the strength of a 6-under 66 from Huai-Chien Hsu and a 69 from Hsin Chun Liao. Australia, the 36-hole co-leader, dropped into fifth place after an even-par 144, followed by England, who sits in sixth at 12-under 420.
Thailand’s Soontreeyapas shares the individual lead with Chinese Taipei’s Hsu at 10-under 206. They are one stroke ahead of Spain’s Fernandez Garcia-Poggio, Avani Prashanth, of India, and Korea’s Seo.
Julia Lopez Ramirez, Spain: “We’re very excited for tomorrow and hopefully we have a better start with some fire in it.”
Eila Galitsky, Thailand: “We didn’t feel any pressure. It really boosted our confidence seeing that we could be on top [of the leader board] after how poorly we finished last year (T-20).”
Charlotte Heath, England: “I think there were some quite sneaky pins, so you had to play away a lot, sometimes just take a two-putt and get out of there.”
Avani Prashanth, India: “It would be really inspiring for the younger girls back home to see that some other Indian girls can finish well here. If they see it done, then they can come the year after to better it. And it gives them the belief that India can compete.”
Prashanth: “I’ve just played some pretty consistent golf. Today, not as many putts dropped. I missed a lot of putts inside 10-12 feet, but that’s okay, I can always go low tomorrow and get something done.”
- Hyosong Lee, 14, is the third-youngest player in the field this week. Last December, she won the Malaysian Amateur Open.
- Avani Prashanath went 42 consecutive holes without a bogey (or worse) before surrendering her first on the par-3 seventh hole. Prashanath posted her third sub-par round of the competition (68-68-71).
- Francesca Fiorellini, of Italy, posted a bogey-free 7-under 65 to tie the low individual round of the competition and propel the Italians into a tie for 14th heading into the final round.
- No. 1-ranked amateur Ingrid Lindblad, of Sweden, carded a 6-under 66, including an eagle 3 on the par-5 18th to lead the defending champions to a third-round score of 138. The Swedes sit in a tie for 14th place with Italy.
- The United States of America, last year’s silver medal winner, sits in a tie for ninth place at 7-under.
- Japan’s Mizuki Hashimoto is a past champion at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. She won the 2021 Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific held on the club’s National Course.
- Spain is vying to become the eighth wire-to-wire champion in Espirito Santo Trophy history, and the first since Sweden accomplished the feat in 2008.
- Thailand, competing in its 10th WWATC, is seeking its second medal in team history after winning silver in 2002.
- India (T-9) is in position for its best-ever Espirito Santo finish. Its current best (T-17) came in 2014.
The final round begins Saturday at 6:30 a.m. local time with a two-tee start on the National Course at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. The leading teams of the Republic of Korea, Spain and Thailand will occupy the final tee times of 12:06, 12:17 and 12:28 p.m. off the first tee.