Min Ji Park and Hye Jin Choi posted respective rounds of 68 and 69 to lift the Republic of Korea to a seven shot lead in the Espirito Santo Trophy, while South Africa slipped outside the top 20 on day two of the 27th World Amateur Team Championship in Mexico.
The Koreans, seeking their fourth victory in the event since their first success in 1996, combined for a second-round 137 to overtake first-round leader Switzerland for the top spot at 13 under 275.
Park – the 16-year-old reigning Australian Amateur champion – posted six birdies and two bogeys at the Mayakoba El Camaleon Golf Club, while 16-year-old Choi – the low amateur at the 2016 US Women’s Open – offset a lone bogey with four birdies.
The Koreans made a similar surge in the second round on their way to victory in Turkey in 2012 and again in 2010 in Argentina, when they fired a record 128 to move from a tie for 13th into first place on their way to victory.
Meanwhile the South African trio Ivanna Samu, Kaleigh Telfer and Cara Gorlei struggled at the Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club.
Gauteng’s Samu and Gorlei from Western Province combined for 155 and the team moved to 15 over at the 36-hole mark in joint 29th spot with Finland and Germany.
“All three players started on the back nine in hot and humid conditions,” said Womens Golf South Africa national coach Val Holland.
“Cara made a great start when she hit a magnificent nine-iron to three feet at the second hole and made the birdie putt. She played solid from tee to green through the first six holes on the back nine and birdied the 17th after a double bogey at par five 16th. Unfortunately she had further drops at one, four, six, seven and nine to finish with a 78.
“Ivanna made a sluggish start and turned six over, but she came back strong over the back nine with birdies at one and nine to sign off with a 77. Kaleigh also made a good start with seven straight pars but unfortunately she finished her first loop nine double bogey-bogey. She couldn’t get the momentum going on her back nine and closed with a non-counting 82.”
Ireland moved into third position at 287, while Denmark matched Korea’s low team total of 137 to claim a share of fourth with Thailand at 288.
The People’s Republic of China is sixth at 290, Austria and the USA are tied for seventh at 291 and host nation Mexico sits in ninth place at 292. Naomi Ko fired a six-under-par 66 for the day’s lowest round at Playa Paraiso to help Canada into 10th at 293.
The World Amateur Team Championship is a biennial international amateur competition conducted by the International Golf Federation (IGF), which comprises 147 national governing bodies in 141 countries and 22 professional members.
The men compete in the Eisenhower Trophy and the women in the Espirito Santo Trophy.
The competition – which is being held for the 27th time – is rotated among three geographic zones: Asia-Pacific, Americas and Europe-Africa.
In each round, the total of the two lowest scores from each team constitutes the team score for the round. The four-day (72-hole) total is the team’s score for the championship.