Date: September 02, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Closing salvos inspire Aussies

Inspired charges from Becky Kay and Kirsty Hodgkins ensured a strong Australian finish at the World Amateur Teams Championship in Ireland today.

Along with Grace Kim, the young Australians did themselves proud with a 14th-place finish overall, battling back well after a tough second round two days earlier.

The team’s three under total across four rounds split over Carton House’s O’Meara and Montgomerie courses left them 26 shots adrift of runaway Espirito Santo Trophy champion, the United States, but just four behind Canada in seventh on a tight leaderboard.

Japan was second at 19 under, 10 behind the Americans, with Korea third one shot further back but with the individual champion, former Australian Amateur runner-up Ayean Cho in their midst at an incredible 17 under off her own bat.

Reigning Australian Master of the Amateurs champion Yuka Yasuda was joint runner-up at 17 under alongside American world No.1 Jennifer Kupcho, with her teammate and dual US Amateur champ Kristen Gillman fourth at 12 under.

Kay was the standout Australian performer all week and again shone in the closing round on the tough O’Meara Course.

The Coolangatta-Tweed Heads member carded a five-under-par 68 to match her best total of the week and move up to seven under overall and a share of sixth place individually.

Kay was level par through 11 holes today and then shot up the leaderboard with a blistering finish, carding five birdies in her next six holes to fire Australia up the team leaderboard at the same time.

Hodgkins, based at Boulder at the University of Colorado, was particularly courageous in her closing one-under 72.

The former Riversdale Cup champion finished her third-round 83 on a sour note and opened with three consecutive bogeys today before turning it all around.

The Queenslander showed she was made of stern stuff with birdies on the 4th, 7th, 8th, 12th, 13th and 17th holes to provide Australia’s second counting score of the day and herself a creditable 13-over four-round total on international debut.

Kim’s closing round of 76 was so much better than the score indicates with the young Sydneysider closing with a quadruple-bogey eight to blemish an otherwise fine scorecard.

The 17-year-old’s 12-over final card features three holes where she dropped multiple shots, highlighting her immense promise and upside.