WOMEN'S WORLD AMATEUR TEAM
USA Wins Title After Commanding Performance September 1, 2018 | DUBLIN, IRELAND By Pete Kowalski, USGA

The USA team of (from left) Lilia Vu, captain Stasia Collins, Jennifer Kupcho and Kristen Gillman won by 10 strokes. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

28th Women’s World Amateur Team Championship | #WATC2018
Carton House Golf Club, Montgomerie and O'Meara Courses, Dublin, Ireland
Round 4, Stroke Play | Par 72, 6,365 yards (Montgomerie) / Par 73, 6,336 yards (O'Meara)
Championship History | Media Center

What Happened

The USA finished with a flourish to win the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, capturing the Espirito Santo Trophy for the 14th time.

Bolstered by nearly perfect scoring conditions and the performances of two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Kristen Gillman and 2018 McCormack medal winner Jennifer Kupcho, the top-ranked amateur in the world, the USA eased to a 10-stroke victory over Japan on the O’Meara Course to win the gold for the first time since 1998 in Chile.

“I am so proud of these girls,” said USA captain Stasia Collins. “I am so proud of this team, and I am really happy for them and thrilled for the United States. They will always be known as the gold medal winners for the 2018 World Amateur Team Championships – no one can take that away from us.”

The USA, in winning its first medal since Argentina in 2010, posted a 29-under-par 551 over four rounds.

Gillman was the driving force of the day, making an eagle and four birdies against one bogey in her first nine holes to make the turn at 5- under. She added a birdie on the 13th en route to a 6-under 67.

Kupcho fired a 4-under-69 to give the USA a fourth-round total of 10-under 136. She, Gillman and Lillia Vu, who shot a non-counting 1-over 74 on Saturday, were also members of the victorious USA Curtis Cup Team in June.

“We have the strong bond already from the beginning, especially yesterday when we were all struggling, we all fought for each other,” said Kupcho, who won the NCAA Women’s individual title in 2018, competing for Wake Forest University. “We all wanted to win for each other, and I think that was a big thing coming out of yesterday. And, I think that’s how we got our big lead coming into today.

Japan’s first appearance on the medal podium in 28 appearances was formulated by a pair of 3-under 70s from 18-year-olds Yuri Yoshida and Yuna Nishimura on Saturday, to put their final total at 19-under 561. Previously, its best finish was fourth in 1984.

Defending champion Republic of Korea stalled in its attempt to overtake the USA and captured the bronze medal, its fifth consecutive medal-winning performance. The Koreans, who had won three of the previous four WWATCs, withstood a late rally from fourth-place People’s Republic of China to finish at 18-under 562

Although there is no official recognition, Korea’s Ayean Cho was the low individual scorer at 17-under 273.

What’s Next

Round 1 of the World Amateur Team Championship for the Eisenhower Trophy begins Wednesday, Sept. 5 at Carton House.

Notable

  • The USA took the when Gillman and Kupcho fired 8-under 65s on the O’Meara Course in round two and went from a one-stroke lead through 36 holes to a five-stroke lead through 54 holes to a 10--stroke victory.

  • For the second consecutive day, the Norwegian duo of Renate Hjelle Grimstad (67) and Karoline Stormo (70) forged another strong move up the leaderboard with a two-score total of 7-under 137 on the Montgomerie Course. Over the last two rounds, Norway moved from T33rd to T12 and then to10th. Their 130-137 finish in the last two rounds was 267, 13 under par.

  • The USA has won 20 total medals in the Espirito Santo Trophy competition (14 gold, three silver, and three bronze).

  • The Republic of Korea has won eight medals (four gold, two silver and two bronze).

  • Juyun ‘Birdie’ Kim, captain of the Republic of Korea team, won the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open.

  • The best round of the day at either course was an 8-under-65 by Jacklyn Lee of Canada on the O’Meara.

  • The 2020 Espirito Santo Trophy competition will be played in Hong Kong at the Old and New Courses of Hong Kong Golf Club.

  • The top three individual scorers all played with the last group of their country and were the last players on the course. Yuka Yasuda of Japan (-15), Ayean Cho of Korea (-17) and Jennifer Kupcho of the USA (-15) were a combined 47 under par.

Quotable

Tomoko Sakamoto, Japan captain: “I am very, very happy. I don’t know what to say! I was hoping to at least finish third, so they could raise the national flag. The fourth is the best finish we have had – so this is the best. This team is probably the strongest Japan team we have had. It’s so huge because last week the boys won the gold medal at the Asian games and now the girls have got the silver here. So, the news carries on and it’s going to have a big impact in Japan.”

Brenda Corrie-Kuehn, Dominican playing captain who was a member of the last USA team to win the Esprito Santo Trophy in 1998: “Back in the 70s, 80s and 90s, the U.S. had historically dominated the WATC. The fact that it has taken us 20 years to gain the victory back shows how strong women’s golf worldwide has become. Both victories were marked by decisive margins. The U.S. brought an amazing team this year, and we all knew they were the unspoken favorites. They played as champions from beginning to end and deserved the win!"

Kristen Gillman, USA: “It means so much to us. We worked so hard and we fought on every shot. When three people are all playing well, it is tough to beat us.”

Social Scene