NANJING, China – Renato Paratore, of Italy, and Soyoung Lee, of the Republic of Korea, each claimed the gold medal in the men’s and women’s individual golf competitions, respectively, that concluded on Aug. 21 at the Youth Olympic Games.
The 54-hole event, conducted by the International Golf Federation, was held on the par-72 Zhongshan International Golf Club. This was the first time golf was held in the Youth Olympics, which began in 2010. The Youth Olympic Games are open to athletes ages 15-18.
Golf makes its return to the Olympic program for the first time in 112 years in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Paratore, No. 5 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, overcame a three-shot deficit in the final round to edge Marcus Kinhult, of Sweden, by two strokes. Paratore carded a 6-under 66 for an 11-under total of 205. Kinhult, No. 6 in the WAGR, shot a 69 for a 207 total, three strokes ahead of Danthai Boonma, of Thailand, who won a playoff with 36-hole leader Viktor Hovland, of Norway, for the bronze medal.
“I was really nervous watching Marcus playing the last hole, but it is really nice to win the gold medal,” said Paratore, who birdied the 17th and 18th holes to go from being one behind to one in front. “My father is here and he is really excited for me. I can’t believe it. I’m very happy.”
Lee, 17, played a near-perfect final round in shooting a 7-under 65 for a 14-under total of 202. She finished three strokes ahead of Ssu-Chia Cheng, of Chinese Taipei. Cheng shot a final-round 66, but it wasn’t enough to catch the front-running Lee, who had seven birdies against no bogeys.
“I was trying hard not to think about the gold medal,” said Lee. “I played really solid today. To win the first Olympic gold medal in golf in more than 100 years, even though it is the Youth Olympic Games, is an amazing feeling.”
Supamas Sangchan, of Thailand, earned the bronze medal with a 7-under total of 209. She carded a final-round 70 to finish five strokes ahead of Olivia Cowan, of Germany, and Virginia Elena Carta, of Italy.
The USA did not send any players to the event.
While the individual event concluded on Aug. 21, the 54-hole team competition will be held Aug. 24-26 at the same venue.