San Martin, Calif. - On the first day of the USA-China Youth Golf Matches, cool gray skies yielded to sunshine and warm temperatures Thursday, as an opening two losses were followed by five wins and a halve by the United States, which leads the match 5 1/2 points to China’s 2 1/2 points.
The match, featuring teams consisting of eight 14 to 16 year old boys and girls per side, is being contested at CordeValle Golf Resort and is aimed at fostering friendship through golf. It is being jointly conducted by the United States Golf Association and the China Golf Association.
The morning foursome competition outlook was bleak for the Americans, as the opening Chinese Team of Shi Yu Ting and Wang Zi Yi beat opponents Hana Ku and Divya Manthena with a controlling 5-and-4 victory. Not more than 15 minutes later, the China side of Liu Yu and Ji Rong posted another point with a victory over Jessica Kittelberger and Calli Ringsby.
As the late-morning heat arrived, the momentum shifted when the USA Team of Patrick Cover and Sebastian Crampton came to the 18th hole all square. A solid approach from Crampton gave Cover the opportunity to hit a wedge from 50 yards, and two-hop the ball before it stopped within 5 feet of the flagstick. A par gave the Americans a 1-up win over Li Yuan and Jin Cheng.
With both teams skipping lunch to watch the finish on the 18th green, the second boys match ended much the same, as Michael Pisciotta lofted a wedge shot to within 8 feet of the flagstick, ultimately leading to a concession of the hole and another 1-up victory.
The American girls held their own in the afternoon. After coming back from 2 down at the turn, the 14-year-old Manthena sunk a left-to-right 10-foot putt, resulting in a fist pump and a bear hug from teammate Ringsby in the opening afternoon four-ball match.They defeated China's Shi Yu Ting and Liu Yu, 1 up.
Both boys matches were close. The most dramatic shot was Crampton’s 25-foot putt to close the match on the 17th green, 2 and 1. The Chinese team staged an incredible rally in the third match, with Ji Rong and Wang Zi Yi coming back from 4 down to garner a half point.
Friday’s matches were set to begin at 7:50 a.m. PDT with singles play.
Thursday – CordeValle Golf Resort, San Martin, Calif.
A.M. Foursome Matches, P.M. Four-Ball Matches
All Times PDT
· USA - Hana Ku, Divya Manthena
· China - Shi Yu Ting, Wang Zi Yi 5 & 4
· USA - Patrick Cover, Sebastian Crampton 1 up
· China - Li Yuan, Jin Cheng
· USA - Jessica Kittelberger, Calli Ringsby
· China - Liu Yu, Ji Rong 6 & 4
8:36 a.m. –
· USA - Michael Pisciotta, Thomas Walsh 1 up
· China - Guan Tian Lang, Dou Ze Cheng
China 2, USA 2
P.M. Four-Ball Matches
2:24 p.m. –
USA - Divya
Manthena, Calli Ringsby 1 up
· China - Shi Yu Ting, Liu Yu
2:36 p.m. –
· USA - Thomas
Walsh, Sebastian Crampton 2 & 1
· China - Jin Cheng, Dou Ze Cheng
2:38 p.m. –
USA - Hana Ku,
Jessica Kittelberger All square
China - Ji Rong,
Wang Zi Yi All square
3 p.m. –
USA - Patrick
Cover, Michael Pisciotta 4 & 3
· China - Guan Tian Lang, Li Yuan
USA leads China, 5 1/2 to 2 1/2
Friday –Single Matches
7:50 a.m. –
USA - Michael Pisciotta
China - Li Yuan
7:58 a.m. –
USA - Calli Ringsby
China - Wang Zi Yi
8:06 a.m. –
USA - Patrick Cover
China - Dou Ze Cheng
8:14 a.m. –
USA - Jessica Kittelberger
China - Ji Rong
8:22 a.m. –
USA - Sebastian Crampton
China - Guan Tian Lang
8:30 a.m. –
USA - Divya Manthena
China - Shi Yu Ting
USA - Thomas Walsh
China - Jin Cheng
8:46 a.m. –
USA - Hana Ku
China - Liu Yu