2002: Women’s World Amateur: Tiebreaker goes to Aussies

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Women’s World Amateur Team Championship came down to three shots – the difference between Australia’s and Thailand’s No. 3 players.

For the first time in the event’s 20-year history, the Espirito Santo Trophy was decided by a tiebreaker. Australia, which trailed Thailand by three shots entering the final round, was declared the winner Oct. 19 after Vicky Uwland shot 78 and Thailand’s Titiya Plucksataporn shot 81.

Australia, led by Pepperdine University’s Katherine Hull and Lindsey Wright, finished at 6-under 578 over the par-73 Saujana Golf & Country Club and the par-73 Bunga Raya Course. Thailand was led by 16-year-old twins Aree Song and Naree Song Wongluekiet. Spain was third at 589 and Germany was fourth at 581.

The United States finished fifth at even-par 584. U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Becky Lucidi led the U.S. team when she tied for 15th at 3-over 295. Laura Myerscough, a member of America’s 2000 World Amateur team, was tied for 21st at 5-over 297 and Emily Bastel finished tied for 38th at 10-over 302.

Aree Song Wongluekiet was medalist at 4-under 288, one shot better than Wright and Spain’s Tania Eloseguie. Hull, ranked No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, was fourth at 2-under 290. Naree Song Wongluekiet was tied for fifth at 291.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Australian captain Liz Cavil. “I thought we could do it. The team is just so talented. They ground it out very hard. It’s a dream for us all.”

Australia won the 1978 event in Fiji.

Thailand, which was seeking to become the seventh wire-to-wire winner, was playing in only its third championship and first since 1996.

“This week it was the battle of the mentally tough,” said Hull. “With the heat and courses being so difficult, it comes down to the mental game. We decided to gut it out and it paid off.”

Aree Song Wongluekiet agreed that it was a grueling week.

“I didn’t feel like we lost,” said Aree. “Everyone on our team played consistently. It was hot and it was a long week. The club got heavy at the end and the hills were getting steep. But I am proud of the way we played.”

The 2004 event will be played at the Hyatt Dorado in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

– Staff and wire reports

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