USA LEADS GERMANY BY ONE STROKE AFTER ROUND 1
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: 24 August 2022
What: 29th Women’s World Amateur Team Championship for the Espirito Santo Trophy
Where: Le Golf National (Albatross) and Golf de Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche (Red), Paris, France
The American duo of Rachel Heck and Rose Zhang, who are also teammates at Stanford University, shot 68 and 69, respectively as the USA fashioned a one-stroke lead over Germany.
In defense of the Espirito Santo Trophy title it won in Ireland in 2018, the USA is vying to become the first back-to-back winner since the Republic of Korea (2010 and 2012).
Heck and Zhang, who were also teammates on the victorious USA Curtis Team earlier this summer, totaled 5-under-par 137 on the par-71 Le Golf National. Heck’s 3-under 68 included four birdies (three in her last eight holes) and a bogey.
“It was a really steady day,” said Heck, who was the NCAA Division I women’s golf individual champion in 2021. “I felt super confident in my game. I had a lot of good birdie looks and some of them happened to go in but in a long tournament like this it is important to start steady and feel confident. There is a lot of golf left to play.”
Zhang, a three-time Mark H. McCormack medal winner as the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, totaled four birdies and a double bogey. Teammate Rachel Kuehn, another USA Curtis Cup Team member, gave the Americans a third sub-par score at 1-under 70 albeit non-counting.
“It was a great start,” said USA captain Pam Murray. “The girls all played well. The course played hard. It is a beautiful course and we played with great players from Japan and France. We couldn’t be happier with how the girls played.”
Also, at Le Golf National, Germany rode a pair of 2-under 69s from Alexandra Forsterling and Helen Briem to post a 4-under total of 138.
“We just kept steady, especially on the back nine,” said Forsterling, who just completed her college career at Arizona State University. “We had some troubles on our front nine. We hung in there and made some birdies in the end and that’s what got us back. I’m really proud of us. And hopefully, we can make some more birdies over the next couple of days.”
Playing in its fifth WWATC, Poland had its best day in its competition history as Kinga Ksumierksa fired a 70 and Dorota Zalewska shot 71 to propel the team to a T3 finish at 3-under-par with South Africa and Switzerland, who all played at Golf de Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche.
“It means a lot to play like this,” said Zalewska, who plays at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. “We are hungry to win for Poland. We have a great team, and we are going in the right direction. We are trying to make history.”
Australia and Chinese Taipei were tied for sixth with Finland, Spain and Sweden tied for eighth.,
The host French team stands in 13th place after Round 1.
Captain Pia Gassner, Germany: “It shows we hung in there. We didn’t get off to a great start. Our front nine was a little shaky. The girls kept their heads down, went with it, got the birdie looks and then some dropped. It was great to watch it. The vibe was good. Everyone was cheering everyone else. It was a good team effort.
Alexandra Forsterling, Germany (of playing at the shorter Golf de Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche Red Course): “It makes you hope for more birdies. It was fun today. Hopefully, more putts will drop tomorrow, and it looks we are on the right track.
Rachel Heck, USA: “We are happy to put ourselves in a good position but there is a lot of golf to play. We are not going to worry about where we are on the leaderboard too much right now. We are going to go to the hotel and take a nap, rest, get some good food and enjoy being in France.”
Playing Captain Dorota Zalewska, Poland: “My game was very solid, and I was giving myself chances. It was great to make an eagle (on hole 7). Eagles don’t come that often. We are looking forward to playing Le Golf National tomorrow because it is a harder course.”
- Mizuki Hashimoto of Japan was in the day’s first group at Le Golf National and began her round with a hole-out eagle 2 on the par-4 first hole.
- At 3-under 68, Rachel Heck of the USA tied for low round of the day along with Constance Fouillet of France at Le Golf National. Meja Ortengren of Sweden, who made the most birdies of the day with six, shot the low score of 3-under 69 on the par-72 Red Course of Golf de Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche.
- The winners of four of the five professional majors of women’s golf -- USA’s Jennifer Kupcho (ANA Inspiration), Australia’s Minjee Lee (U.S. Women’s Open), Canada’s Brooke Henderson (Evian), and South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai (AIG Women’s Open) – are past Espirito Santo Trophy competitors. In fact, Kupcho (2018), Lee (2014) and Buhai (2006) were members of gold-medal winning teams and Henderson (2014) was on a silver-medal winning team.
- World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Annika Sorenstam, who is the current President of the International Golf Federation, will be defending her title at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, that begins tomorrow at NCR in Kettering, Ohio, USA. Sorenstam played for Sweden in the Espirito Santo Trophy competition in 1990 and 1992
- The USA is vying to become a back-to-back champion for the first time since winning in 1988 and 1990.
- Australia, France, Japan, Sweden, and the USA extended their perfect participation records to 29 appearances each. All five teams have played in every Espirito Santo Trophy since its inception in 1964.
- Kazakhstan, making its first WWATC appearance, is tied for 50th place.
Round 2 begins Thursday at 8 a.m. with a two-tee start on both courses.