Topics- 1st round - press release -

Boys sprint out to 9-under par first round; Mexico girls lead on strong finish

TOYOTA CITY, Japan (June 18, 2019) – With Albert Boneta’s 5-under-par 66 leading a trio of scores in the 60s, Spain’s boys once again set the early pace Tuesday in the opening round of the 27th TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup Supported by JAL.

Teammates David Puig and Jose Luis Ballester each added 69s to propel Spain to a team total of 9-under-par 204, good for a four-shot advantage over host Japan, South Africa and the United States.

“For one day, it’s a good start,” said Spain coach Yago Beamonte, whose team led three days of last year’s event before being caught by Denmark on the final day. “For me, it’s been very quiet – always in the fairway, always on the green. Almost no chance to make bogey.”

Mexico used some late fireworks to take the lead in the girls’ division, as both Isabella Fierro and Cory Lopez each went birdie/birdie to finish off matching 70s that pushed them to a three-shot lead over Sweden and the United States.

The Mexican duo combined to record five birdies over Tuesday’s final four holes, their team score of 4-under 140 separating from a packed leaderboard in which Spain and defending champion Japan were another stroke behind.

“Our team is good,” said Lopez, the reigning Mexican Women’s Amateur champion. “We’re all friends. I think it really helps because we can communicate with each other and compete with each other.”

The competition uses a format similar to U.S. college golf, with each boys’ team counting the three best scores among its four players each day. In the girls’ division, each team counts the two best scores among three.

Boneta’s 66 was one of three recorded on Tuesday, sharing Tuesday’s individual boys’ lead with Argentina’s Abel Gallegos and Sweden’s Gustav Andersson. They were one stroke ahead of Japan’s Tsubasa Ukita, South Africa’s Christ Lamprecht and William Moll of the United States.

Spain also laid claim to the girls’ individual lead, as Carla Tejedo birdied two of her last five holes to move one shot clear of Lopez, Fierro, Sweden’s Else Svensson and Korean Siwoo Chung.

The TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup, now in its 27th edition, is the final destination of a process that begins with 73 national teams entered in regional qualifiers across six continents.

The boys’ field features 15 teams competing for the championship, while nine teams advanced to the girls’ finals.

“We finished very good, 9-under par, but we haven’t done anything yet,” said Beamonte, who last year watched his squad shoot 10-under on the first day.

The Spaniards took a seven-shot lead into the final day, but were undone when Denmark’s Rasmus Hojgaard shot a 64 and twin brother Nicolai carded a 67.

“Yeah, it was tough,” said Puig, the only returning player from last year’s team. “The twins played really good. We didn’t play really solid, but we were happy (with the overall result).”

Boneta played his last four holes in 4-under par, including an eagle holeout from a greenside bunker at the par-5 16th hole. “I played the whole round well, but I didn’t make putts on the front,” Boneta said.

Mexico’s girls, meantime, flipped the day’s script on the final two holes. They stood in the middle of the leaderboard until Fierro birdied her last two holes at Nos. 8 and 9. Minutes later, Lopez came through and duplicated the finish.

“I don’t think it was anything special,” Lopez said. “We just played it as the coach told us and made the putts.”

More information about the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup Supported by JAL and be found online at WJGTC.org, including a video library that includes interviews with former World Cup participants.