Golf and country

Players from 53 nations are competing in the 2010 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Women’s World Amateur Team Championship

Oct. 20-23

Courses: Buenos Aires Golf Club and Olivos Golf Club, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Format: 53 teams, with three players each, play 72 holes of stroke play; two best scores of each day count toward the team total. Each team will play a different course for the first two days of competition. After 36 holes, teams are grouped according to score for the remaining two rounds, one on each course.

Defending champion: Sweden is vying to become the first team to win back-to-back Espirito Santo Trophies since the U.S. won in 1988 and 1990. Caroline Hedwall is the sole returning player from that 2008 team. The Swedes are the only nation to finish in the top 10 in all 23 previous Women’s World Amateur Team Championships.

Most wins: U.S., 13. The last victory came in 1998.

First time participants: Guam, Nigeria, Slovenia and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Most folks will look at Colombia’s team at the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship and do a double-take.

Lisa McCloskey?

The USC junior was born in Colombia and, after moving to California for several years, moved back to her native country from ages 7-13. She’ll join former Arizona State standout Juliana Murcia and Laura Camilla Blanco as Colombian representatives in Argentina. Blanco is slated to join ASU in the spring. 

The WWATC has the feel of a U.S. college tournament as so many schools are represented. Colombia usually doesn’t stand out as a favorite, but the addition of McCloskey puts them high on this year’s list. The first round kicked off Wednesday at Buenos Aires Country Club.

“I think I’m still riding a high from the summer,” said McCloskey, whose final-round scores at college events this fall highlight her ability to go low: 67-67-64.

photo

Lisa McCloskey at the 2010 U.S. Women's Amateur.

TEAMS TO WATCH

Canada

Jennifer Kirby. Sarah Maude Juneau, Christine Wong

Colombia

Juliana Murcia. Lisa McCloskey. Laura Camilla Blanco

Sweden

Carolina Hedwall, Louise Larrson, Camilla Lennarth

Australia

Julia Boland, Stacey Keating, Alison Whitaker

Ireland

Danielle McVeigh, Leona Maguire, Lisa Maguire

Germany

Pia Halbig, Sophia Popov, Laura Katzy

Spain

Carlota Ciganda, Marta Silva, Mireia Prat

United States

Danielle Kang. Jessica Korda. Cydney Clanton

McCloskey’s father, an engineer for Occidental Petroleum Corporation, moved the family to Texas, where Lisa attended Montgomery High School. She graduated early and enrolled at Pepperdine when her parents moved to Dubai. After two years with the Waves, McCloskey transferred to USC this fall. Her parents also have relocated again – this time to Italy.

“I’ve lived half my life in South America,” said McCloskey, who also spent time in Venezuela. Her mother, Maria, is Colombian. “I want to live there when I’m older. (The people) are always happy.”

The American team of Danielle Kang, Jessica Korda and Cydney Clanton will have their hands full. Caroline Hedwall, the 2010 NCAA individual champion for Oklahoma State, returns to help Sweden defend its title. Hedwall posted the lowest individual score in Australia at the 2008 WWATC, though no award is officially given.

Kang, the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, is in the midst of her own global whirlwind. The Pepperdine sophomore played in the Japan Women’s Open earlier this month and tied for 19th while fighting illness. She arrived back in the United States just before midnight on Oct. 3 (the same day as the final round in Japan) and slept for a few hours before her tee time at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational in Tacoma, Wash., where she finished T-6 despite the jet lag.

Teammate Korda, who was runner-up to Kang at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, is competing in her second WWATC, but her first appearance wasn’t with U.S. team. At age 13, she played for her native Czech Republic in 2006.

This year, Marijosse Navarro of Mexico and Lydia Ko of New Zealand at 13 are the youngest in the field. Beatriz de Arenas, 62, of Guatemala is the oldest and is representing her country for the seventh time.

No one feels more at home than Victoria Tanco. The two-time AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year will represent Argentina. Tanco now spends most of her time at the David Leadbetter Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and is traveling the U.S. junior circuit.

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