SPAIN LEADS CANADA BY ONE STROKE AFTER ROUND 1
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: 25 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
Spain, bolstered by two of the top-5 ranked amateurs in the world, holds a one-stroke lead over Canada following Wednesday’s opening round of the 30th Women’s World Amateur Team Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Cayetana Fernandez Garcia-Poggio, No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking®/WAGR®, posted a 4-under-par 68 and 2023 European Ladies’ Amateur champion Julia Lopez Ramirez (No. 5) added a 69 to position Spain at 7-under-par 137, one head of the Canadians and two in front of Ireland.
Fernandez Garcia-Poggio's round included six birdies against two bogeys. Lopez Ramirez, who was one of two amateurs to make the 36-hole cut in the 2023 AIG Women’s Open, totaled four birdies and a bogey, while teammate Carla Bernat Escuder posted a non-counting 70.
“I was hitting good shots, but the putts weren’t going in, so I just like ‘wait, be patient,’” said Fernandez Garcia-Poggio, a freshman at Texas A&M University. “I almost hit a hole in one [on the fourth hole] and that helped me make more birdies.”
Spain, which finished fifth last year in France after a heartbreaking double-bogey from Fernandez Garcia-Poggio on the 72nd hole to fall out of the lead, is seeking its first WWATC medal since claiming silver in 2008 in Australia.
“I’m really happy for us with this start,” said Spain Captain Mar Ruiz de la Torre. “They are playing really well. The practice rounds were just like today. We can’t ask for a better start in the tournament.”
Canada rode a pair of 3-under 69s in the afternoon from 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up Monet Chun and 2023 Canadian Women’s Amateur champion Lauren Kim to post a 6-under total of 138. Chun, who became the first Canadian to make the cut at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April, tallied six birdies and three bogeys.
“There’s a lot of golf to play but a good start is always helpful,” said Chun, a senior at the University of Michigan. “I’m hitting it pretty consistent. Some of the putts went in so that really helped with the birdies, but hopefully tomorrow I’ll make less bogeys and put in a good round.”
Ireland’s Sara Byrne, India’s Avani Prashanth and Japan’s Mamika Shinchi matched Fernandez Garcia-Poggio's 4-under 68 for the low rounds of the day. Ireland used a combination of Byrne’s 68 and a 71 from Beth Coulter to post a 5-under 139 and hold solo third place.
Germany, India and the Republic of Korea share fourth place at 140, three strokes behind Spain.
Playing in its sixth WWATC, India had its best start in competition history on the strength of Prashanth’s 68 and an even-par 72 from Mannat Brar.
Germany was led by a bogey-free, 3-under 69 from Chiara Horder, the team’s playing captain who is a junior at Texas Tech University, and a 71 from Celina Sattelkau.
“We want to be up there [on the leaderboard], we want to get medals and play for the win,” said Horder, the 2023 British Women’s Amateur champion. “It feels good to have a good start and to contribute to the team.”
The host nation United Arab Emirates, which is competing in its first WWATC, is in 31st place (6-over 150) after the opening round.
Julia Lopez Ramirez, Spain: “It’s a tough course because I feel like it’s pretty narrow and going in the rough gets you in a lot of trouble to hit the greens. Also with the heat, it makes it a little harder on you. But honestly, I like it, it’s tough. I don’t like when a course is super easy and everyone can shoot under par, so I’m excited for this.”
Cayetana Fernandez Garcia-Poggio, Spain: “I played really good, but my putting wasn’t the best today, so I think I can have a better round tomorrow. I’m going to go putt for another hour or so because this grass is difficult.”
Chiara Horder, Germany: “It feels good. Bogey-free is always nice. I was just trying to stay hydrated honestly. Trying to stay focused just going shot by shot.”
Rachel Kuehn, USA: “I’m happy with [the round.] We’re still kind of getting to know the golf course. It’s a little quirky at times. I think the more we play it, the better we’ll learn it and the better we’ll play it.”
Lara El Chaib, UAE (on hitting the opening tee shot): "I was pretty calm to be honest. I didn't really feel anything. I know the course, so I just had to hit my drive down the middle and I did. There were a lot of people on the tee, but I was just thinking about my shot and my routine."
- Defending champion Sweden posted a 2-under 142 and sits tied for 10th. All three Swedes recorded 71’s, including world No. 1 Ingrid Lindblad. Sweden is vying to win consecutive Espirito Santo trophies for the first time in team history.
- The United States of America, which finished second a year ago in France, also posted an opening-round total of 142 including a 2-under 70 from Rachel Kuehn.
- Morocco’s Sofia Cherif Essakali, 14, is the youngest player in the field. She recorded a 2-under 70 to position Morocco in a tie for 17th. Last Feburary, she was the only amateur to make the 36-hole cut in the Lalla Meryem Cup, becoming one of the youngest players to achieve that feat in a Ladies European Tour event.
- Avani Prashanth’s bogey-free 68 was the lowest round by a player from India in WWATC history.
- Sixteen of the 36 teams finished under par on Day 1.
- A total of 48 players in the field competed in the 2022 WWATC. Belgium, Chinese Taipei, England, Morocco and New Zealand are fielding the same three players as last year.
- Temperatures at Abu Dhabi Golf Club reached 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) with a heat index of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) during Round 1.
Round 2 begins Thursday at 6:30 a.m. with a two-tee start on the National Course.
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