Led by Justin Suh, who fired a 3-under 69, the USA finds itself tied for 19th after the first round of the World Amateur Team Championship at Carton House. Cole Hammer shot 1-under 71, putting them eight strokes behind Denmark, who leads by two strokes over host-country Ireland after one round.
Playing the par-72 Montgomery Course, Suh, who is ranked No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, carded five birdies to go along with an eagle on the par-5 eighth hole, but was slowed by a double bogey on the par-4 second hole. Hammer, who this summer became the first player since 1986 to advance to the semifinals in the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur in the same year, made three birdies against two bogeys. World No. 3 Collin Morikawa shot a non-counting even-par 72 for the USA.
“I never really got it going. I got it to 2 under after 18 and then I hit it in a pot bunker on No. 1 and gave one back,” said Hammer, a freshman at the University of Texas. All three USA team members began their rounds on hole No. 11. “That was kind of the story for me on the back nine. I would make a birdie and then give it back on the next hole. I’m happy with the way I played, and it was a solid day to shoot 1 under.”
Denmark was powered by John Axelsen and Rasmus Hojgaard, who shot 8-under 64 and 4-under 68, respectively, on the Montgomery Course. The pair combined to tie for the second-lowest first-round score in Eisenhower Trophy history, just one behind the record of 131 set by the USA in Turkey in 2012.
“Everything just worked today,” said Axelsen, a University of Florida sophomore, who won the Danish Amateur in 2017 and 2018. “I was going up to the ball and just feeling like this is going to be close.”
For Ireland, Robin Dawson began with six birdies in his first 11 holes on his way to a 7-under 65 and John Murphy and Conor Purcell posted identical 3-under 69s. Dawson, the world No. 10, won the 2018 Irish Amateur Open and was runner-up in the British Amateur and European Amateur earlier this year.
“We knew coming into the week it was going to be a big birdie fest,” said Dawson, an equine business graduate from nearby Maynooth University. “It helps drive us on every time. When you make one [birdie] you want to make another one. I think making a lot of birdies is key out here and going low.”
India and Switzerland share third place at 9 under, followed by New Zealand and Japan in fifth at 7 under and Thailand, Spain, England, Portugal and Republic of Korea tied in seventh at 6 under.