Kiwi girls in top half of Espirito Santo Trophy
New Zealand finished in the top half of the field for the Espirito Santo Trophy in Mexico.
The world amateur teams’ event for women, held at Riviera Mayo, was dominated by South Korea.
In a format where the best two scores from three players count towards the team’s total, South Korea finished at 29 under par over four rounds.
There was a massive gap of 21 shots to second-placed Switzerland, which equalled the tournament’s record winning margin.
The New Zealand team of Wenyung Keh, Julianne Alvarez and Chantelle Cassidy were not in the same league. They were an ocean away at 16 over par. They finished 19th in a tournament represented by 55 countries.
New Zealand’s best performer was Keh. She had counting scores on all four days with totals of 72, 73, 72 and 75.
Alvarez’s scores were 77, 75, 74 and 77 and Cassidy’s had 75, 74, 79 and 78.
South Korea’s captain Sang-Won Ko said the emphasis was always on the team and not individuals.
“The key is the team play,” Ko said.
“We have been interviewed over the last few days and the players have been so focused on team play. That makes everyone tight and makes for good results.”
South Korea’s win was the fourth in the 14 times the country has been represented at the Espirito Santo Trophy which is staged once every two years. The three previous wins were in 1996, 2010 and 2012. South Korea has also twice finished second and once third.
There was no holding back from the Koreans on the last day, despite cruising to victory.
Teenagers Hye Jin Choi, 17, and Min Ji Park, 16, each shot five-under par 67 to post a final-round total of 134. It was the tournament’s second-best total, behind the 131 scored by Australia in 2014.
Ko said there was only one question when it came to women’s golf in Korea.
“I travel a lot and the first question is always why is your women’s game so strong?’’ Ko said.
“And my first answer is we have a greater number of players and they are trying really hard.
“Their target is to turn professional. We may be a small country in terms of the land and the population but we have more than 3000 junior players and they are willing to turn professional, which is really a huge number compared to the United States. and Europe, so that’s why I believe our women’s golf is strong.”
Korea’s 21-stroke winning margin over second-place Switzerland tied the championship record set by the USA in Chile in 1998.
The 72-hole total of 547 also tied for second-lowest. The lowest winning score was 546 by Korea in 2010, when it won by 17 strokes.
The 28th Women’s World Amateur Team Championship will be played in Ireland from Augusdt 29-September in 2018 at the Carton House Golf Club in Dublin.
The competition, which was held for the 27th time this year, is rotated among three geographic zones: Asia-Pacific, Americas and Europe-Africa. This year’s event was hosted by the Mexican Golf Federation. The teams played for the Espirito Santo Trophy.