WOMEN'S WORLD AMATEUR TEAM
65's from Gillman, Kupcho Powers USA to Lead
August 30, 2018 | Dublin, Ireland
By Pete Kowalski, USGA
The USA set a 36-hole scoring mark, fueled by matching bogey-free scores of 8-under 65 from Jennifer Kupcho and Kristen Gillman on the O’Meara Course, to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Republic of Korea and three strokes over first-round leader Japan.
“They are all world-class players,” said USA captain Stasia Collins. “They know how to play; they know their games; they played to their strengths, and they all struck the ball very well.”
Kupcho, the recipient of the 2018 McCormack Medal for being the world’s top amateur, and two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Gillman, combined for 16-under 272 and broke the 36-hole mark of 273 set by the Republic of Korea in 2010.
“I definitely hit the ball well today, but I still missed a lot of putts and hit it into the hazard on one hole,” said Gillman, who won her second U.S. Women’s Amateur title earlier this month at the Golf Club of Tennessee and improved nine strokes on her opening-round 74 at the Montgomerie Course. “I guess that’s good news, but we can still go lower. We know our own games and what we needed to change after yesterday and focused on what we, as individuals, needed to fix.”
World No. 2 Lillia Vu shot 4-under 69 for the USA to tie for the second-lowest non-counting score in WWATC history.
Kupcho, who had the low score for the USA on Wednesday with a 2-under 70, had three consecutive birdies on holes 3-5 and again on holes 8-10 on Thursday. She has yet to record a bogey over the first 36 holes of the championship. As the world’s top amateur, the Westminster, Colo., native, still sees room for improvement.
“I was hitting the ball really well and I actually made a quite a few putts but I left a few out there, too. So, I need to work on my putting a little bit.”
The Republic of Korea’s Ayean Cho, No. 20 in the WAGR, fired a 9-under 64, the best round of the championship thus far, which moved her team into second-place at 17-under 273.
World No. 22 Yuka Yasuda of Japan continued her fine play with a 6-under 67 at the Montgomerie as the first-day team leader posted a total of 15-under 275.
The People’s Republic of China holds fourth place at 279, followed by Germany and Austria tied for fifth at 283, Italy in seventh at 285, Thailand in eighth at 286, Denmark in ninth at 287 and Ireland and Mexico tied for 10th at 288.
Cho and Yasuda are currently tied for the individual lead after two rounds at 13-under 132, with Kupcho in third place, three strokes back.
Round 3 begins Friday at 07:45 a.m. off the No. 1 tees on both courses.
Jennifer Kupcho, USA (on Republic of Korea playing competitor Ayean Cho): “She was absolutely on fire. We can’t do anything about their game and we can’t play defense.”
Yuka Yasuda, Japan: “It’s good to be near the top but we have just played half of the tournament. We need to play like the half we just played and I’m looking forward to the next two days.”
Stasia Collins, USA captain (on the team getting their nails done on Wednesday afternoon): “They feel good when they have their nails done and it gives them confidence. When you look down and you feel good about yourself, it makes it easier to roll the ball in the hole.”
Lilia Vu, USA: “I knew [her teammates] were going to go low. Usually putting is my top strength so it’s kind of disappointing that the putts aren’t falling. I was hitting it well, but the putts were not falling.
- The USA overcame a six-stroke deficit to Japan (2-under vs. 8-under) at the start of the day and Jennifer Kupcho and Kristen Gillman cut away at the lead early with 9-hole scores of 5-under and 4-under, respectively.
- The USA’s second-round 130 is two strokes off the WWATC mark of 128, shot by the Republic of Korea in 2010 and is second-best of any team score for any round.
- The 9-under 64 from Ayean Cho of the Republic of Korea lifted her to a tie with Yuka Yasuda of Japan for the individual scoring lead at 13-under 132 and ties for the second-lowest score for any round at the WWATC.
- The playing group of Ayean Cho (KOR at -9), Jennifer Kupcho (USA at -8) and Annabel Wilson (IRL at +1) was a combined 16 under par.
- Fifteen-year-old Yae Eun Kim of the Dominican Republic scored a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th hole of the Montgomerie Course using an 8-iron in her round of 76. It is the fourth of her career and the first Espirito Santo ace since 2014.
- The 65s by USA players Jennifer Kupcho and Kristen Gillman tie for the third-lowest second-round score in Espirito Santo records
- Canada moved from T-39 to T-23 with a 15-stroke improvement from 154 to 139; Jaclyn Lee – 4-under 69, Naomi Ko – 3-under 70, Maddie Szeryk – 2-under 71.
- Individually, the best improvement in score (13 strokes) came from Nicole Polivchak of Poland, who shot 87 on the Montgomerie and followed with 2-over-par 74 at the O’Meara in Round 2.