Argentina Teens Build 7-Stroke First-Round Lead At Copa de las Americas
By Pete Kowalski, USGA
Buenos Aires, Argentina (Jan. 6) – Host country Argentina, with four teenagers who combined for a team total of 3-over-par 291, holds a seven-stroke lead over Canada and Paraguay in the overall competition after the first day of the 2010 Copa de las Americas at Buenos Aires Golf Club.
Defending champion USA is 10 strokes back in fourth place.
Fifteen-year-old Victoria Tanco, the 2009 Rolex Junior Player of the Year in the United States and a two-time U.S. Women’s Open
Canada's Nick Taylor, the low amateur at the 2009 U.S. Open, posted an even-par 72 at Buenos Aires G.C. on Wednesday. (Enrique Berardi/Argentine Golf Association)
qualifier, paced the quartet with a 1-under-par 71. Seventeen-year-olds Tomas Cocha and Emiliano Grillo shot 72 and 73, respectively, and were followed by 15-year-old Manuela Carbajo Re at 75.
“It was a tough day out there with the wind but we are happy with the scores,” said Argentine captain Miguel Leeson. “We want to win. We can play at the highest level. We are confident we have a good team. The position is super. The wind was blowing this morning and the Yellow Course (second nine) is hard in this type of wind. We are happy with our play.”
The second-place Canadians held the overall lead at several points during the day but were facing a golf course they did not see in Monday’s practice round.
“It was a challenging golf course today because it was totally different from the practice round with wind direction, speed and temperature,” said Canadian captain Doug Roxburgh. “The players might have been lulled into a sense of security. Argentina did a good job with their home course knowledge but we knew they’d be one of the favorites because they are tremendous players.”
Canada leads the men’s competition at even-par 144, followed by Argentina (145) and Paraguay (148).
In the women’s competition, Argentina leads at 146 with Paraguay (150) and the USA and Peru (151) are in close pursuit.
The Copa de las Americas is a biennial team event for amateurs in North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean that began in 2003.
The Copa de las Americas consists of three competitions – overall, men and women. Fifteen men’s teams and 12 women’s teams will play 72 holes of stroke play with the lowest aggregate score claiming trophies in each of the three competitions.
Best Rounds – Rafael Campos of Puerto Rico shot the best round of the day, a 3-under-par 69. Argentina’s Victoria Tanco had the best day for the women, shooting 1-under-par 71, which is the lowest first-round score in the history of the Copa de las Americas. Only two other players broke par – William Kent of Paraguay and Miguel Ordonez of Panama, both of whom shot 71, for a total of just four sub-par scores. Ironically, Erick Morales of Puerto Rico bookended his teammate’s 69 with day’s highest round for the men at 85.
The Courses – At Buenos Aires Golf Club (a 27-hole facility), which will be used for the first and third rounds, the championship golf course consists of the Green Course for the first nine and Yellow Course for the second nine. At Olivos Golf Club (also has three nines), the host course for the second and final rounds, the White Course will be the outward nine and the Red Course the inward nine.
World Amateur Team – Seventeen of the 54 competitors (nine men and eight women) have played in past World Amateur Team Championships, which will be conducted on these same two courses in October. In addition, 11 of those with WATC experience played in 2008. Beatriz de Arenas, of Guatemala, leads all of the competitors with six appearances at World Amateur competitions.
World Amateur Team, Take 2 – Three of the team captains are past participants in the World Amateur. Doug Roxburgh of Canada played in six Eisenhower Trophy competitions, including the 1972 Championship at Olivos Golf Club. Cristian Vargas of Chile and Arturo Tapia of Panama also played in past Eisenhower Trophy competitions.
College Days – Of the 54 players, 22 are former, current or future players at American colleges or universities. Juliana Murcia of Colombia was a member of Arizona State’s NCAA Division I Championship team in 2009 and Canada’s Matt Hill, playing for North Carolina State, won the NCAA Division I men’s individual title. Canada’s Nick Taylor was the low Amateur at the 2009 U.S. Open and shot 65 in the second round.
The USA’s Jennifer Song was the low amateur at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, where she tied for 13 th. The University of Southern California sophomore was the runner-up at the 2009 NCAA Division I Women’s Championship. . Her teammate Jessica Korda also made the cut in the 2009 Women’s Open, shooting 69 in the final round. She previously has played in the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship for the Czech Republic, the native country of her parents. Her father, Petr, won the 1998 Australian Open men’s singles title. Jessica Korda was born in the U.S. and holds dual citizenship.
Results from the first round of the Copa de las Americas played at Buenos Aires Golf Club (M: par 36-36-72; 6,986 yards; W: par 36-36-72; 6,127 yards) can be viewed by opening this link: http://www.aag.com.ar/copadelasamericas/leaderboard.asp?l=en
Pete Kowalski is manager of championship communications for the USGA. E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.