U.S. defends title at Copa de las Americas

Jennifer Song helped the United States seal the win at the Copa de las Americas with her final-round 72.

Jennifer Song helped the United States seal the win at the Copa de las Americas with her final-round 72.

Team USA successfully defended its title at the Copa de las Americas Saturday, beating host country Argentina by 12 strokes with a 72-hole total of 10-over 1,158 at Olivos Golf Club in Argentina.

After building a 14-shot lead through three rounds, the United States remained steady during the final round and held off a spirited rally by Argentina.

“The team was patient and focused,” said USA captain Steve Smyers. “They didn’t get ahead of themselves.”

The United States also captured the women’s team competition with a score of 7-over 583 thanks to the strong play of Jennifer Song and Jessica Korda. Song, who won the 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, shot a 3-over 291 and placed fourth individually. Korda shot 4-over 292, good enough for fifth place overall, while Paraguay’s Andrea Jun shot 1-over 289 to win the individual women’s championship.

“Winning as a team is so good,” said Song. “You can never be happier than winning as a team. It takes so much effort.”

After entering the final day tied, Argentina unseated the United States in the men’s competition behind the outstanding play of junior Emiliano Grillo. Grillo, who’s ranked No. 2 in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings, won the individual championship at 7-under 279, which proved to be the difference as Argentina beat the United States by five strokes with a team score of 3-under 570.

“Emiliano had a great tournament,” said Argentine captain Miguel Leeson. “The USA was just steady and it was very difficult to get it back against those players.”

Oklahoma State standout Peter Uihlein shot a 1-over 287 and Nathan Smith was at 2-over 288 to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, in the individual competition for the United States. Grillo’s teammate Tomas Cocha fired a 2-under 69 on the final day to help Argentina capture the men’s title from the United States, which won all three titles when the competition was last held in 2007.

– The USGA contributed to this report

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