Florida's John Axelsen paces Denmark to early lead at WATC

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Florida's John Axelsen paces Denmark to early lead at WATC

Amateur

Florida's John Axelsen paces Denmark to early lead at WATC

Florida’s John Axelsen helped Denmark take the first-round lead Wednesday at the World Amateur Team Championship

Axelsen, who just completed his freshman year as a Gator, returned an 8-under 64 around the Montgomerie Course at Carton House near Dublin. His teammate Rasmus Hojgaard added an 4-under 68 to pace Denmark to a 12-under 132 start. The Danes lead hosts Ireland by two shots. India is another shot back at 9 under in a tie with Switzerland after Rayhan Thomas posted a 9-under 64 around the O’Meara Course.

The U.S. trio of Cole Hammer, Collin Morikawa and Justin Suh are tied for 19th at 4 under after a 3-under 69 from Suh and 1-under 71 from Hammer. Morikawa shot level par, with only two scores counting.

“Everything just worked today,” said Axelsen, who won the 2017 and 2018 Danish Amateur Championships. “I was going up to the ball and just feeling like this is going to be close.”

Axelsen’s nine-hole score of 29 over the front nine – seven birdies, an eagle and one bogey – was one stroke short of the record of 28 by Denny McCarthy of the U.S. in the final round in 2014.

Hojgaard, whose twin brother Nicolai is also on the Danish team, said: “The conditions were very good. There wasn’t a lot of wind and so it wasn’t affecting the ball much. We could pretty much do whatever we wanted without the wind touching it. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Ireland is in second place thanks to a 7-under 65 from British Amateur runner-up Robin Dawson. Connor Purcell and John Murphy chipped in with 3-under 69s.

“I’m delighted with the start we made,” Irish captain John Carroll said. “I couldn’t ask for any more on Day 1 – Robin (Dawson) with his 7 under and the two boys 3 under each. Fantastic golf. We’re certainly looking forward to the next few days.”

The U.S. is the last home nation to win the Eisenhower Trophy, recording the feat at Pinehurst in 1980.

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