WORLD AMATEUR TEAM
USA 3 Strokes Back Heading into Final Round of WATC September 7, 2018 | Dublin, Ireland By Pete Kowalski, USGA

A second consecutive 66 by Collin Morikawa kept the USA within three strokes going into Saturday's final round. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

Team Scores | Individual Scores | Round 4 Tee Times

What Happened

The USA will go into the final round of the 2018 World Amateur Team Championship at Carton House on Saturday three strokes off the lead of New Zealand.

Thanks to a second-consecutive 66 by University of California-Berkeley senior and 2017 USA Walker Cup competitor Collin Morikawa in Friday’s third round, the USA stayed within striking distance by posting 10-under 134 on the Montgomerie Course in the 3-count-2 team format. The American’s team score matched the second-lowest of the third round, with only Norway (133), behind a 7-under 65 from reigning U.S. Amateur champion Viktor Hovland, going lower.

“It felt good,” said Morikawa. “After yesterday, I have more confidence and I felt good from the start of the day.

“For us, it’s good as long as we are moving up [the leader board] and giving ourselves a shot. It’s going to be a shoot-out [on Saturday]. We have to be ready. The key for today was to put ourselves in position.”

Justin Suh, a senior at the University of Southern California and No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, added a 4-under 68. University of Texas freshman Cole Hammer, a co-champion in this year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship as well as a semifinalist in the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur, had a non-counting, even-par 72.

Spain and Thailand are tied with the USA in second place at 27-under 407.

New Zealand, seeking its second victory in the biennial competition after taking the title in 1992 behind future U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, also shot 10 under as a team on Friday, led by Denzel Ieremia’s 65, and sits at 30-under 404.

The USA is seeking to hoist the Eisenhower Trophy for a 16th time and first since 2014.

Saturday’s final round will be contested on the par-73 O’Meara Course.

“We’ve got a good opportunity tomorrow,” said Suh. “We just need to make some more birdies.”

What's Next

The fourth and final round begins Saturday at 2:45 a.m. EDT off two tees at both courses.

Notable

  • Italy, with two American college players Stefano Mazzoli and Lorenzo Filippo Scalise, moved into contention for its first medal in 31 Eisenhower Trophy appearances. Its previous best finish was T-4 in 2004 and 2008 for a total of 10 top-10 scores.

  • Ireland’s Robin Dawson was the only player to play the first 36 holes without a bogey. In the third round, he recorded his first dropped shot on the par-5 fourth hole of the Montgomerie when he posted a bogey-6.

  • Bermuda’s Jarryd Dillas, 33, who works in the insurance business, is playing in his eighth Eisenhower Trophy, the most of any of this year’s competitors. The University of Rhode Island graduate has posted rounds of 72-75-71 for an even-par 54-hole total of 218.

  • Haiti team captain Ben Pellicani, who also has been the executive director of player development for the Golf Federation of Haiti for two years, is the current associate head coach at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.

  • With one round remaining, the individual leaderboard shows this top five: T-1. Takumi Kanaya of Japan and Denzel Ieremia of New Zealand at 16 under; 3. Alejandro Del Rey of Spain at 15 under; 4. Daniel Hillier of New Zealand at 14 under and T-5. USA teammates Collin Morikawa and Justin Suh at 13 under.

Quotable

USA captain Tom O'Toole Jr. on the third-round conditions:

“It was a tough day. The wind was swirling. Cole started us out great. He led the charge. Collin was the stalwart the last two days came solid all in and Justin poured it on for the back nine. We had a day of different stories. Cole at the beginning, to charge us up. Collin and then Justin. We dug deep proud of them.”

O'Toole Jr. on team's place on the leader board:

“You have to be within striking distance and that’s where we are. They are all playing good and now we let chips fall where they are. They played well over there (O’Meara) yesterday and they need another round to do it.”

Denzel Ieremia, of New Zealand (who played college golf at Iowa State): “I am very excited. We are in a good position and that is a testament to the way we have prepared.”

Alejandro Del Rey, of Spain, on team's position going into final round:

“It feels good. We thought we could fight for medals and we will try to stay up there.”

Del Rey on playing the O'Meara Course on Saturday: 

“We might have an advantage because we like to play that kind of course where you can make a lot of birdies. We are aggressive.”

 

 

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