WOMEN'S WORLD AMATEUR TEAM
Japan Leads by Two; USA Six Back at Women's WATC August 29, 2018 | DUBLIN, IRELAND By Pete Kowalski, USGA

The Japan team was led by Yuka Yasuda (left), who tied a championship record with her first-round 65. (USGA/Steve Gibbons)

28th Women’s World Amateur Team Championship | #WATC2018
Carton House Golf Club, Montgomerie and O'Meara Courses, Dublin, Ireland
Round 1, Stroke Play | Par 72, 6,365 yards (Montgomerie) / Par 73, 6,336 yards (O'Meara)
Championship History | Media Center

What Happened

Yuka Yasuda, 17, posted a bogey-free and record-tying 7-under-par 65 on the par-72 Montgomerie Course at Carton House, outside Dublin, Ireland, to propel Japan to a two-stroke lead over the People’s Republic of China in the first round of the Women's World Amateur Team Championship.

The USA team of Jennifer Kupcho, Lilia Vu and 2018 U.S. Women's Amateur champion Kristen Gillman are in a tie for eighth place, six strokes off the pace set by Japan. Kupcho, who recently won the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading amateur in the Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), shot a 2-under 70, best among the American players.

"I am proud of the way they hung in there," said USA team captain Stasia Collins. "They played with some very good competition. This is Day One and you cannot win it on Day One, but we will stick to our game plan. The putts will start to drop, I know they will."

Yasuda, No. 22 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, tied the first-round 65 shot by countrywoman Rikako Morita in 2006 in South Africa. “My short game and putting were very good,” said Yasuda. “I was hitting shots solid today and sinking three- to four-meter putts – that was pretty good today. I was very confident putting.”

Teammates Yuna Nishimura and Yuri Yoshida each shot 1-under 71 for a team total of 8-under 136, which is just one stroke off the WWATC first-round team mark of 135 set by Canada in Japan in 2014.

“Everybody tried hard, but Yuka made just about everything on the putting green,” said Japanese captain Tomoko Sakamoto, who is serving for the fourth time. “She looked so comfortable on the green. She felt like she was going to make every one of them. I’m very happy!”

The People’s Republic of China, which played on the par-73 O’Meara Course was led by Mohan Du. With birdies on her first three holes and five total on her front nine, she shot a 6-under-par 67.

“I don’t know what happened today,” Du said. “I could feel my head spinning around because I have a real heavy cold. We just arrived here yesterday early morning and didn’t have a practice round because we just finished the Asian Games. It was a long way to travel here so I didn’t think much or set targets today. I just took it easy and played every shot. And that’s why I had a good result. I feel amazing.”

Du, 16, reached 7-under through 15 holes but bogeyed the 16th and 17th before a finishing birdie, which gave her eight birdies against two bogeys. Her teammate Ruoning Yin, 15, added an even-par 73 for a 6-under team total of 140.

Defending champion Republic of Korea and Austria share third position at 4 under with Australia and Ireland tied for sixth at 3 under; Hong Kong, China is tied with the USA for eighth at 2 under and Venezuela and Italy are tied for 10th at 1 under.

What's Next

Round 2 begins Thursday, August 30 at 7:45 a.m. Ireland Time (2:45 a.m. EDT) off the No. 1 tees at both courses: Tee Times

Notable

  • Individual leader Yuka Yasuda won the 2018 Women’s Australian Master of the Amateurs with a 65 in the third round as well as the 2017 Japan Women’s Amateur.

  • Despite a bad head cold and a Tuesday morning arrival after the Asian Games, Du of the People’s Republic of China, with a 67 on the O’Meara Course, tied for the WWATC’s third-lowest individual first-round score. The team was not able to play any practice rounds because of their travel schedule.

  • Host Ireland stands tied for sixth place after a 2-under 70 from Olivia Mehaffey and a 1-under 71 from Annabel Wilson.

  • Although only two scores count, Japan and Germany were the only teams to post all three scores at par or better for the day. On the par-72 Montgomerie Course, Japan received a 65 from Yuka Yasuda and 71s from Yuna Nishimura and Yuri Yoshida and for Germany Leonie Harm shot 70; Esther Henseleit shot 71 and Sophie Hausmann shot 72 on the par-73 O’Meara Course.

  • In the 57 teams, there are four playing captains: Brenda Corrie-Kuehn of the Dominican Republic, Sofia Linette Garcia Peralta of Paraguay, Leonor Bessa of Portugal, and Claudia De Antonio of Venezuela.

  • Leonie Bettel of Austria caddied for Leonie Harm of Germany in the final of the 2018 Ladies British Open Amateur Championship at Hillside in Southport, England.

 

Quotable

Yuka Yasuda, 17, Japan: “I am happy with our lead, but this is only the first day. Even though I am happy I still need to keep going with how I did today for the rest of the week.”

Captain Tomoko Sakomoto, Japan: “I am very pleased with the way all three players played today. During the practice round, it was so windy and much tougher conditions. For example, at the 16th, they were hitting woods. But today it was so very different, and they were using irons. It was a bit tricky but they all did a great job.”

Jennifer Kupcho, 21, USA: "My short game was good and I gave myself a lot of good chances. I missed some chances with my putting but otherwise I played really well."

Olivia Mehaffey, 20, Ireland (on hitting the opening tee shot on the Montgomerie course): “A little bit of nerves. There was a lot of people out there, I didn’t expect so many people to be out there at a 7.45 a.m. tee time on a Wednesday. That was lovely. Definitely, it’s nice to get the first round and keep yourself up towards the top of the leaderboard.”

Leonie Harm, 20, Germany: “I feel pretty good because it was my first stroke play bogey-free round of the year. I really like the golf course, I had some good opportunities out there, but I also had some great par saves. I’m overall happy with the score.

Leonie Bettel, 21, Austria (on her 4-under-par 69): “I was really comfortable around and on the greens. On a couple I just saw the line and knew it was going to go in.”

The Social Scene