The United States Women’s World Amateur Team Championship trio lived up to their world rankings by taking the 36-hole lead at Carton House Golf Club just outside Dublin.
The trio of Jennifer Kupcho, Lilia Vu and Kristen Gillman, respectively the top three players on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, set a new 36-hole scoring record to move into a one-shot lead over defending champions South Korea. The U.S. sits on 18-under 272, breaking the record of 273 South Korea set in 2010 in Argentina.
First-round leaders Japan slipped to third on 275, with China in fourth on 279. Germany and Austria are tied fifth on 283.
With only two scores to count, Kupcho and U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Gillman returned matching bogey free 8-under 65s. Vu shot a 4-under 69 to tie the second-lowest non-counting score in women’s WATC history.
“They are all world-class players,” USA captain Stasia Collins said. “They know how to play; they know their games; they played to their strengths, and they all struck the ball very well.”
Gillman, who recently won the U.S. Women’s Amateur for a second time, believes her team can get even better over the next 36 holes.
“I definitely hit the ball well today, but I still missed a lot of putts and hit it into the hazard on one hole,” Gillman said. “I guess that’s good news, but we can still go lower.”
The United States has not lifted the Espirito Santo Trophy since 1998.
Four-time winners South Korea stayed in touch thanks to Ayean Cho’s 9-under 64, the low round of the tournament so far. The World No. 20 returned her score over the easier of the two courses being used this week.
“The O’Meara course is shorter than Montgomerie,” said Cho. “It meant that with most par-5s I could go for the green in two, and that gave me more confidence to play.”
Cho is joint individual leader on 13-under 132 with Japan’s Yuka Yasuda.