Wednesday, June 19, 2019
SOUTH AFRICA BOYS ENTER RARE TERRITORY AT TOYOTA JUNIOR GOLF WORLD CUP
Second-day score of 199 is best in recent memory; U.S. girls lead tight race
TOYOTA CITY, Japan (June 19, 2019) – Propelled by sizzling finishes from Samuel Simpson and Martin Vorster, South Africa’s boys on Wednesday became the first team in at least a dozen years to break 200 for a round at the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup, overtaking Spain for a one-shot lead at the event’s midway point.
Simpson made up for an opening double bogey by playing his last six holes in 6-under par, posting a 65 that stands as the lowest by anybody this week. Vorster carded a bogey-free 66, ending his day with four birdies in his last five holes.
Toss in a 68 by Christo Lamprecht, and the South Africans reached the finish line at 14-under 199. A search of tournament records going back to 2007 shows no other team breaking 200 in a round.
“It was just an amazing day,” said South Africa captain Eden Thompson, whose team finished two days at 19-under 407. “I think the boys are confident. They like the golf course and we’ve had really good weather the last two days. We’ve put ourselves exactly where we want to be.”
The United States finished the day atop a busy girls’ leaderboard, as Rose Zhang’s 68 matched the best score of the week and Sadie Englemann finished strongly on the way to a 70.
That lifted the U.S. squad to a total of 7-under 281, one shot ahead of defending champion Japan, which was led by a 68 from Miyu Yamashita. Mexico and Sweden were three shots off the U.S. pace, with Spain another stroke back.
“I expect every team to be playing extremely well,” said Zhang, who also shared the individual lead at 5-under 139 with Korean Siwoo Chung. “But I believe in my team, and we have each other to cheer each other on.”
Sweden’s Gustav Andersson and Argentina’s Abel Gallegos shared the boys’ individual lead, as both following up opening 66s with another to reach the midway point at 10-under 132. Spain’s Albert Boneta (67) was one shot behind.
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.
South Africa actually produced four scores in the 60s on Wednesday, with Casey Jarvis posting a 69 that couldn’t make the cut.
“Unbelievable,” said Spain coach Yago Beamonte. “Our worst was level par and I think that’s very good.”
Spain, which held a four-shot advantage after going 9-under in the first round, matched that score Wednesday and still fell into second. Jose Luis Ballester eagled the par-5 ninth to finish off a 68, while Samuel Espinoza carded a 69.
A year ago, Spain led after two days with a 13-under total. “Now we’re 18-under and second, so I’m a bit surprised,” Beamonte said.
Simpson got off to a dubious start when he sent his opening tee shot out of bounds, leading to a double bogey. But gave just one shot back to par the rest of the way, culminating in a back-nine 29 that included a chip-in eagle at No.6. He closed his round with three consecutive birdies.
“I was just trying to get to the clubhouse and post a good number for my team,” said Simpson. “It ended up feeling like the putter was just swinging in my hands and I ended up making three birdies.”
After a shaky front nine as a team, the U.S. girls recovered as a team to shoot 6-under on their second nine. That jumped them from fifth place just an hour earlier into the top spot.
“I think they all kind of found their rhythm and the putts started to drop,” said U.S. coach Lauren Giesecke. “Things just worked out for us.”Japan also combined to shoot 6-under as a team, paced by Yamashita’s five-birdie day. “Her tempo’s good,” coach Saori Iwamoto said. “She was hitting it close – some long putts, but she made them.”
Akie Iwai and Tsubasa Kajitani contributed 70s for the defending girls’ champions.
*The third round tees off tomorrow, Thursday at 8:00 AM.
**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.