Team USA's Cole Hammer, Andy Ogletree win Spirit International men's championship, France wins overall

Spirit International Amateur

Team USA's Cole Hammer, Andy Ogletree win Spirit International men's championship, France wins overall

Amateur

Team USA's Cole Hammer, Andy Ogletree win Spirit International men's championship, France wins overall

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TRINITY, Texas – As Georgia Tech senior Andy Ogletree marked his golf ball before teeing off in the final round of The Spirit Amateur Golf Championship, tournament founder Corby Robertson Jr., sidled over and said, “How about you go out and take care of winning that gold medal for the USA? What do you say?”

Ogletree looked up, smiled and said, “Yes, sir. That’s the plan.”

Ogletree, who already has the Havemeyer Trophy for winning the U.S. Amateur sitting on his coffee table in Atlanta and was part of the victorious U.S. Walker Cup team, added to his recent haul with a gold medal draped around his neck late Saturday afternoon for winning the Men’s Team Competition.

He couldn’t have done it without partner Cole Hammer, who did most of the heavy-lifting, racking up eight birdies on the day en route to a best-ball score of 9-under 63 and a 54-hole total of 22-under 192 at Whispering Pines Golf Club.

“It was an incredible week,” said Hammer a Houston native and sophomore at Texas. “We didn’t have our best stuff the first couple of days, but we kept ourselves in it. On the back nine we started rolling, and it was fun to have some momentum.”

The American duo “ham-and egged it,” for the first two days, Ogletree said, turning 15 combined birdies into a score of 13 under and managed to overcome another slow start on the final day. Indeed, Ogletree didn’t make his first birdie until his 11th hole of the day at No. 2, but that’s about when Hammer started drilling birdies with ease. He birdied four in a five-hole stretch beginning at No. 2 as the Americans came home in 6-under 30 to win by two strokes over Sweden (Adam Blomme and Vincent Norrman) the 36-hole leader and South Africa (Sam Simpson and Martin Vorster).

Team USA at the 2019 Spirit International Amateur Championship. (Spirit International Amateur)

Team USA’s streak of five consecutive victories in the Combined International Competition was snapped when the U.S. women’s team was disqualified for a scorecard error during the first round. That left the door open for Team France, which erased a four-stroke overnight deficit and fired a winning score of 37-under 395.

“It was our turn, and we took it from everyone else,” French captain Patricia Meunier LeBouc said. “I’m so very proud of my team.”

France’s Adrien Pendaries and Julien Sale tallied a 4-under 68 on Saturday and finished T-6 at 16 under. It was the women’s side of World No. 7 Pauline Roussin Bouchard and Candice Mahe, who carried the team to victory, signing for 8-under 64. A late flurry of seven birdies on its final eight holes lifted the French to victory and gave the team a two-stroke victory over South Korea and Norway, who shared silver. New Zealand claimed bronze at 31-under 401.

Pendaries won his first gold medal as a member of France’s National Team, and in doing so he earned some bragging rights with his father, Marc, who captained the 2011 French team at The Spirit. “My dad’s team finished fourth eight years ago, so I get to give him a hard time about it,” he said.

The French women came up just short of a double-gold-medal performance, as they couldn’t catch the South Korean women (Jeong Hyun Lee and Yoon Ina), who closed in 67 and held on for a one-stroke victory at 21-under 195.

“I’ll never forget this tournament,” said Lee, the tournament’s 12-year-old sensation. “It was so fun.”

Lee, the youngest competitor in the 76-player field and still six days away from becoming a teenager, won the individual women’s competition as well, grabbing a second gold medal by making 17 birdies over the course of the three rounds. She became the youngest medalist in the Spirit International, smashing the previous record of 14 held by Lexi Thompson, and also tied the all-time 54-hole women’s individual scoring record set by Mexico’s Maria Fassi in 2015.

Renate Grimstad of Norway in her second appearance at The Spirit, won the silver medal in the Women’s Individual Championship with 15 birdies. Korea’s Ina took the bronze medal with 14 birdies.

Australia’s Jack Trent claimed the men’s individual gold medal, bagging six birdies in the final round to up his total to 18 birdies and an eagle. That tied the all-time Spirit International record set by Korea’s Bumgeun Chae in 2009.

Trent, a junior at UNLV, credited a new Scotty Cameron putter that he acquired from the Titleist Tour Van when he competed in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last month.

“Once I got on the greens, I felt like I could make anything,” Trent said. “When my teammate was in for par, I was really trying to make it for birdie. More often that not, I did.”

Hammer, No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, finished second in the birdie count with 16 and received a silver medal along with Italy’s Pietro Bovari and Colombia’s Ivan Camilo Ramirez. South Africa’s Vorster took the bronze with 15 birdies.

The Spirit International, which began in 2001, brought together two male and two female amateurs from 19 different countries and six continents to compete against each other for a chance at gold. The 54-hole four-ball stroke-play competition featured three concurrent competition categories: international team, men’s team and women’s team. Gold, silver and bronze commemorative medals were awarded to the top finishers in each competition.

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