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Korea on the verge of fourth Espirito Santo Trophy title

Korea are on the verge of their fourth Espirito Santo Trophy after building a fourteen stroke lead over second place Switzerland after today’s third round in the Women’s World Amateur Team Championships (WWATC).

The Koreans posted a team score of 138 during today’s penultimate round, with Hye Jin Choi shooting a round of 68, which included five birdies in her first nine holes, and Min Ji Park, the 2016 Australian Women’s Amateur champion, firing a two-under-par round of 70.

The team are now 19-under-par, a total of 413, for the Championships.

“Some of my players are not really satisfied with their games but I am 100% satisfied with their games,” said Korean captain Sang-Won Ko. “Of course, everyone makes mistakes but I’m OK with that and, as I said yesterday, I just want them to enjoy the game and enjoy playing with the other players.”

The Koreans are seeking their fourth victory in the 27th edition of the Espirito Santo Trophy.

They won in 1996, 2010 and 2012 and, in capturing the Espirito Santo Trophy in 2010, set the mark for lowest score in the event’s history with a total of 546, which eclipsed the field by 17 strokes.

“At the moment I am happy to be leading the team and the individual leaderboards but this championship is more important for the team event so I am trying not to think about being individual leader and am focused on winning the team event,” said Choi, a 17-year-old high school student.

“Although there is a big gap I will try to think this is the first round tomorrow and focus more on my game and then maybe a better result will come.”

Choi was joined by Leslie Cloots of Belgium in carding the day’s best round of 68.

All three Koreans broke par and did not count the round of 71 posted by Hyun Kyung Park.

Switzerland maintained their second place position with a third round score of145 that included a round of 69 from Kim Metraux and a 76 from her older sister Morgane.

“I didn’t have real expectations,” said Metraux, whose is a Florida State University teammate with her sibling. “I wanted to enjoy the tournament and play as well as I could. I didn’t focus on the results or a spot that I wanted to finish.”

As for gaining ground on Korea, Metraux preferred to focus on her final round.

“I don’t think about it,” Kim said. “I will play my best and then see what happens. I can’t control what they are doing and it’s better if I don’t look at what they are doing and focus on my game.”

Third-place Thailand, however, believes the chase is over and that the only open places are second and third.

“We’ve got to try to finish in the top three. We should just let Korea be the winner,” said Thailand captain Kanes Nitiwanakul. “We will try to be second. Our goals are a little higher now. Korea is so good, they have such talented players.”

Thailand, who have not been in the medal race since finishing second in 2002, posted a total score of 143 after a 70 from Kanyalak Preedasuttijit and a 73 from Parajee Anannarukarn.

In the day’s top 10 of the leaderboard: Denmark and Ireland are tied for fourth at 432, followed by Spain in sixth at 435, based on two rounds from Maria Parra (70) and Luna Sobron (71);  the USA is seventh at 436 with host nation Mexico and Canada tied for eighth at 438 and Japan is tenth at 439.

The Women’s World Amateur Team Championship is a biennial international amateur competition conducted by the International Golf Federation (IGF), which comprises 147 national governing bodies in 141 countries and 22 professional members.

The competition, which is being held for the 27th time, is rotated among three geographic zones: Asia-Pacific, Americas and Europe-Africa. This year’s event is hosted by the Mexican Golf Federation. The teams play for the Espirito Santo Trophy.

The IGF is the international federation for golf for the International Olympic Committee and conducted 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.

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