WOMEN'S WORLD AMATEUR TEAM
USA Team Leads by Five With One Round Left at Women's WATC August 31, 2018 | DUBLIN, IRELAND By Pete Kowalski, USGA

Kristen Gillman (left) and Jennifer Kupcho combined to shoot 1 under par in windy conditions during the third round. (USGA/Steve Gibbons)

28th Women’s World Amateur Team Championship | #WATC2018
Carton House Golf Club, Montgomerie and O'Meara Courses, Dublin, Ireland
Round 3, Stroke Play | Par 72, 6,365 yards (Montgomerie) / Par 73, 6,336 yards (O'Meara)
Championship History | Media Center

What Happened

In windy conditions and playing against the other two teams on the top of the leader board on the Montgomerie course, the USA posted a 54-hole score of 19-under 415 to extend its lead to five strokes over defending champion Republic of Korea and six over Japan. With one round remaining on Saturday, the USA will attempt to win their 14th Espirito Santo Trophy, and first since 1998.

“It was a really tough day, and everyone had to grind,” said USA captain Stasia Collins. “We were on 12 and we had two players at plus 3, and I told them that their scores might count, and they had to grind it out. They worked very hard and made some birdies coming in. It was great.”

One of those players was McCormack medal winner and World No. 1 Jennifer Kupcho, who shrugged over a shaky start and posted three birdies on her last four holes for 1-under 71.

“I was struggling with putting so I decided instead of lining up the ball, I would set the ball down like I do in practice,” said Kupcho, who won the 2018 NCAA Women’s individual title playing for Wake Forest University. “I don’t focus that much and I just hit it. It worked really well, and I made some putts and got my confidence back and I birdied the last two holes, which was a bonus.”

2014 and 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Kristen Gillman rebounded from a three-stroke drop in two holes to finish with an even-par 72, which gave the Americans a team total of 143.

The Korean team, which began the day one stroke back, was briefly tied with the USA in the middle of the round. Their top player, Ayean Cho, posted a 1-under 71 but the other counting score was a 4-over 76 from Seo Yun Kwon for a day’s total of 3-over 147.

Japan kept its place in third position at 421 followed by resurgent host Ireland in fourth at 430 and Italy, Germany and People’s Republic of China tied for fifth at 431. Completing the top 10 were Austria in eighth at 432, Mexico in ninth at 433 and Denmark in 10th at 434.

What’s Next

The final round begins Saturday, Sept. 1 at 7:45 a.m. off the No. 1 tees on both courses.

Quotable

Karoline Stormo of Norway (on her 3-under 70 at the O’Meara Course): “We had been hitting the ball really good the last two days and today the putts started dropping. That was the main difference. We knew we were capable of shooting low. I think both courses are really nice. It was not as tough as it was the other days as it was not as windy. The weather was really nice – it was warm.”

Ayean Cho of Republic of Korea:  I was a little worried with the wind this morning, but I started OK and it gave me confidence to play. On the back nine, the wind got a little slower and that’s why I played well.”

Danielle McVeigh, Ireland captain: “Aggressive play to smart targets has been our mantra all week. The strategy may change for tomorrow, but golf owes us nothing. It’s up to us to go and take it. We’ll see how many birdies we can make and see where we’re at the end of tomorrow.”

Kristen Gillman, USA: “You always want to be in the lead, so it definitely helps going into tomorrow.”

Notable

  • The field’s youngest player, 13-year-old Shannon Tan of Singapore, has recorded a 54-hole total of 234 (79-78-77) and is her team’s best scorer.

  • Norway 's Renate Hjelle Grimstad and Karoline Stormo posted identical 3-under 70s at the O’Meara Course and helped move their country to T-12th after starting the day T-33rd. The pair play college golf in the USA: Grimstad at the University of Miami and Stormo at Kent State. “Yesterday we were all hitting it really good and nothing dropped in,” Grimstad said. “It’s good now to see we are able to climb up the leaderboard….All of a sudden we can count ourselves up there. We are all really pretty happy for tomorrow – it should be a good day.” The team’s 140 was the best of the day.

  • Host Ireland steadied itself with a six-position move up the leaderboard (from T-10 to fourth), riding the 2-under 70 posted by Olivia Mehaffey (best of the day on that course) and an even-par 72 from Annabel Wilson. “I was really disappointed with yesterday,” said Mehaffey. “I think even this morning I wasn’t over it. I had to go to the gym and get a wee bit of frustration out. I came out fighting, I wanted to do a good job and, I feel proud of how I played today”

  • The best round of the day belonged to Pauline Roussin-Bouchard of France, who posted a 5-under 68 at the O’Meara, where she recorded five birdies, an eagle and a double bogey. She won the St. Rule Trophy at St Andrews in 2016.

  • In the final round, the USA will be looking for its first medal since it earned silver in 2010. If it holds its position, it will win the Espirito Santo Trophy for the 14th time.

  • The Republic of Korea is vying for its fifth consecutive medal and has won the WWATC three of the past four competitions.

  • Japan is seeking its first medal in 28 appearances. Its best finish is fourth in 1984.

 

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