Argentina leads Men’s World Amateur Team, USA one back

KARUIZAWA, Japan – Argentina passed Canada and took the second-round lead, with a 5-under 66 from Jaime Lopez Rivarola and a 4-under 67 from Alejandro Tosti, at the 2014 World Amateur Team Championship at Karuizawa 72 Golf East.

The Argentines, who began the day in fourth-position, posted a 9-under 133 at the Oshitate Course to hold a one-stroke lead over Sweden, Switzerland and the USA at 18-under-par 268, which ties for the second-lowest 36-hole total in championship history. First-round co-leader Canada lost four strokes in the last three holes to hold fifth place at 270.

“We plan for the tournament, but you’ve also got to plan each round,” said Argentine captain Matias Anselmo. “What we try to do every day is stay under par. It doesn’t matter if it’s one or two or five, we just want to make sure that we’re under par because we know that at this kind of golf course the scores are going to be low. If you get some momentum, you’ve got to take advantage of it. They know that as soon as they get a chance, they’ve got to go for it. The teams chasing us are really good so we know we’ve got to keep it up.”

Lopez Rivarola, who is sophomore at the University of Georgia in the USA, posted six birdies and a bogey. Tosti, who will enroll at the University of Florida and played in the 2014 British Amateur and the St Andrews Trophy, logged an eagle and five birdies but also had a bogey and a double. Matias Simaski shot a non-counting 71.

“We planned our round to try and come out strong from the start,” said Lopez Rivarola. “We knew the back nine at Oshitate was more accessible than the front and we did a really good job with some good birdies from 10 to 18.”

Canada, which shared the lead with Sweden and Switzerland after the first round, held the lead at 19-under par through 15 holes.

“Both days, we gave a few shots back on the way in,” said Canadian captain Graham Hill. “It’s something we will talk about tonight. There are lots of low scores and it’s a bunched up leaderboard. While it’s not exactly what we wanted, 6-under is still a good score and we are still right there.”

The trio of teams in second place also played the par-71 Oshitate Course as Sweden and Switzerland both posted 7-under 135 and the USA tallied 9-under 133 to match the low team score of the day with Argentina, Scotland and Spain.

The USA counted a 5-under 66 from Beau Hossler, the 2014 Western Amateur champion, and a 4-under 67 from Bryson DeChambeau. Denny McCarthy shot a 68, which ties the record for lowest non-counting score.

“The guys played really well today,” said USA captain Jim Hyler. “We’ve had six rounds all in the 60s. We left some shots out there but still made lots of good shots and I’m really pleased with the way they hung in there today. We’re trending very well.”

Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult, No.4 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR), shot a 5-under 66 and teammate Adam Blomme tallied a 69.

“It’s a really good position but it didn’t look like that until the last few holes when we were able to get the putts in for birdies,” Sweden captain Bjorn Engstrom said. “We just try to keep them in a good mood. They are fun guys and they have a really good time together. That’s the most important thing, not to think too much about the position but just to play every hole the best they can.”

For Switzerland, Benjamin Rusch posted a 5-under 66 and Mathias Eggenberger added a 2-under 69.

“We had a very good day, a solid day,” said Swiss captain Toni Matti of his team, which finished with half the field still to complete its rounds. “But you never know, the big nations are still out there and other nations will be coming near us. It will be quite a challenge but my players are in fantastic shape.”

Spain’s John Rahm, WAGR No. 13, shot the low round of the championship, a 7-under 64 at Oshitate and was joined by Australia’s Lucas Herbert, WAGR No. 19, who shot 8-under 64 at Iriyama.

Spain is tied for sixth at 271 with Scotland and England. Australia and Denmark share ninth position at 273, followed by Chinese Taipei, France, Germany, Italy and Mexico tied for 11th. The host team from Japan is in 21st place.

Play was suspended at 12:08 p.m., for dangerous weather, and resumed at 1 p.m.Thirty-five teams have posted sub-par totals after 36 holes and 63 sub-par scores counted in the second round, breaking the record of 45 in 2006.

The World Amateur Team Championship is a biennial international amateur competition conducted by the International Golf Federation (IGF), which comprises 137 national governing bodies in 131 countries. The competition, which is being held for the 26th time, is rotated among three geographic zones: Asia-Pacific, Americas and Europe-Africa.

This year’s event is hosted by the Japan Golf Association. The teams play for the Eisenhower 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.

The teams at in the upper half of scoring will play the Oshitate Course in the third round and the Iriyama Course in the fourth round. The teams in the bottom half will play Iriyama and then Oshitate.

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