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Korea Repeats as WWATC Champions
The Republic of Korea, with a total of 13-under-par 563, won the 2012 Women's World Amateur Team Championship (WWATC) on Sunday at Gloria Golf Club by three strokes, becoming the first team in 22 years to capture consecutive titles.
"We were struggling yesterday and we had a long conversation last night," said Korean coach Hyung-Mo Kang. "The beginning did not go so well, but they ramped it up at the end. I am very happy."
The last team to win in consecutive Espirito Santo Trophy competitions was the U.S. in 1988 and 1990. Korea won the 2010 WWATC in Argentina with a record-setting score of 546. The 2012 championship was its third gold medal, as it took the title in 1996 as well.
Korea withstood a 7-under-par charge from Germany, which finished second, taking the silver medal at 566. Finland, which also shot seven under for the day, shared the bronze medal with Australia at 567.
It is Germany's second medal all-time and first since tying for silver in 1998. Finland won its first medal in the competition and Australia took its first medal since winning gold in 2002.
The Women's World Amateur Team Championship is a biennial international amateur competition conducted by the International Golf Federation (IGF), which comprises national governing bodies of golf in 126 countries and international professional tours. The competition, which is being held for the 25th time, is rotated among three geographic zones: Asia-Pacific, Americas and Europe-Africa.
This year's event is hosted by the Turkish Golf Federation. The teams play for the Espirito Santo Trophy. The IGF is the international federation for golf for the International Olympic Committee and will conduct the Olympic golf competition in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
In each round, the total of the two lowest scores from each team constitutes the team score for the round. The four-day (72-hole) total is the team's score for the championship.
"We play them annually at the Queen Sikirit Cup and every year we are chasing them," New Zealand captain Libby Steele said of the Korean team. "They have fresh players every time and they just keep producing good golfers. It shows when you see them on all the Tours around the world."
Korea posted a 2-under-par 70 on Gloria's New Course from Kyu-Jung Baek and an even-par 72 from Hyo-Joo Kim, No. 3 in the Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). Min-Sun Kim shot a non-counting 74.
"Last night, we tried to forget about our score, forget about how many shots we were leading by and who was trying to catch us," Baek said. "We just tried to focus on playing well."
Spain and New Zealand tied for fifth at 568. The rest of the top 10 included Canada in seventh at 569, the U.S. in eighth at 570, France in ninth at 572 and Japan in 10th at 574.
Although there is no official recognition, Lydia Ko, 15, of New Zealand, No.1 in the WAGR, set a championship mark for lowest individual score at 14-under-par 274. Ko, the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion and winner of the LPGA Tour's Canadian Open, broke the mark set in 2010 by Korea's Jung-Eun Han at 275.
Sweden's record of 24 consecutive Espirito Santo Trophy competitions with a place in the top 10 ended as the team tied for 13th.
The host team from Turkey finished tied for 36th.
The upper half of the draw played at Gloria Golf Club's New Course in the fourth round and the lower half played the Old Course.
The next Women's World Amateur Team Championship will be played in Karuizawa, Japan, in 2014.
The above report is courtesy of the USGA. For more information, visit www.usga.org. For complete results, visit www.internationalgolffederation.org and click on the Golfstat icon.