Team USA builds 14-shot lead in Argentina

Nathan Smith

The United States pulled away from the field in Round 3 of the Copa de las Americas Friday, taking a 14-shot lead over second-place Argentina.

Three of the four Americans broke par at Buenos Aires (Argentina) Golf Club to hold their second-round lead at the event that features an overall team competition, plus men’s and women’s team competitions.

Argentina led after Round 1, but dropped to fifth after Round 2. Junior standouts Emiliano Grillo (64) and Victoria Tanco (65) turned in the lowest individual scores since the tournament’s beginning in 2003 to help Argentina take the second-place spot from Canada. Grillo, at 6-under 209, and Tanco, at even-par 216, also lead the individual race in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

Nathan Smith, the 2009 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion, had the lowest score for the United States in Round 3, shooting 5-under 67. He is at 1-over 216 for the tournament.

“I feel pretty comfortable on this course,” Smith said of Buenos Aires Golf Club. “Maybe, it was the wrong place at the wrong time when we started the first round on the back nine in the wind.”

Peter Uihlein, the Oklahoma State standout who is ranked No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, backed up to a 70. Uihlein shot 69 in Round 2 at Olivos Golf Club to tie the record for the lowest second-round score in tournament history, and is in second place individually at even-par 215. The United States and Argentina are tied at 1-over 431 for the top spot in the men’s team competition.

Jennifer Song, the USC sophomore who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links in 2009, improved to a 68 Friday and is at 3-over 219 for the tournament. Teammate Jessica Korda, 16, carded a 1-over 73 and is at 1-over 217, one shot behind Tanco.

In the women’s team competition, Song and Korda lead Colombia by 12 shots.

The United States won the Copa de las Americas the last time it was played in 2007.

– The USGA contributed to this report

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