Team USA defends title, Flores takes home individual honor
TOYOTA CITY, Japan ?Well it?s a clean sweep. Just as I predicted way back when I was a little bitty boy, Team USA picked up some hardware on Friday, defending their Toyota World Junior Golf Cup title. Not only that, but Erik Flores - thanks to a 20-under tournament - won the individual competition by six stokes. It was a joyous day in Japan for the group of Americans, who ended up winning the tournament by an astounding 12 shots over Columbia.
The U.S. squad started off a little shaky, not coming out with quite the same fire that they had shown in the previous round. They weren?t the only team however, as England had even more problems, falling to third by the end of the day. Of course, the Americans picked it up as Michael Green shot a 5-under 67 (for the second straight day in a row), Erik Flores carded a 4-under 68 (his third round in the sixties of the four rounds), and Matt Swan checked in with a 2-under 70. Nick Smith never could quite get it going and ended up with a 4-over 76. When the dust had settled, Erik won the individual competition by going 20-under, Matt ended up tied for eighth overall with his 9-under tourney, and Michael came back - thanks to his last two 67?s - to end up in 10th place to give the U.S. squad three of the top 10 finishers.
Of course, most of the credit goes to the team for performing just swimmingly (especially in the last two rounds), but one can?t go without noticing the effort of Coach Scott Moe. He really played a large part in helping the guys gel together and really play as a team. He kept the mood light, even at tense moments and helped the guys in every way he could. Although just a Division III coach, I don?t think there?s a better coach out there, regardless of division, when it comes to helping the players get the most out of themselves. Scott?s a class act and a great guy that I would sure keep my eye on in the years to come. It goes without saying that U.S. Captain JR Steinbauer is the guy that makes this all run smoothly. He?s the main reason that the U.S. keeps coming back year after year. Without him, the tournament wouldn?t be what it is today and we all owe him a big thanks. I should also thank Eiji Tagashira and Bill Kardyk for helping me out in every way they could.
Today marked both the seventh team championship and seventh individual championship for the United States in the 14-year span of the tournament. In a rare moment of my seriousness, I can say that today was truly a day that made us all proud to be Americans - not only because of the victory, but because of the way that a group of people came together to represent their country and accomplished something great in the process.
The next event that I?ll be reporting from will be the US-Japan Matches from Palo Alto, California, beginning the second week of July. Until and beyond then, check gcaa.collegiategolf.com for regular updates on the college golf world.
2005 Toyota World Junior Golf Cup
Final Round Results
1. United States 212-209-198-205=824 (-40)
2. Columbia 212-211-204-209=836 (-28)
3. England 212-208-205-214=839 (-25)
4. Argentina 212-213-208-212=845 (-19)
5. Chinese Taipei 220-212-212-207=851 (-13)
6. Japan 223-215-206-210=854 (-10)
7. New Zealand 219-211-213-213=856 (-8)
8. Spain 223-209-221-210=863 (-1)
9. Belgium 219-217-215-213=864 (E)
10. Canada 223-212-214-219=868 (+4)
11. Mexico 214-217-215-224=870 (+6)
12. India 227-216-215-214=872 (+8)
13. South Africa 223-218-220-221=882 (+18)
14. Zimbabwe 230-232-226-222=910 (+46)
Top 10 Individuals
1. Erik Flores, United States 65-71-64-68=268 (-20)
2. Yuki Usami, Japan 72-70-67-65=274 (-14)
3. Andres Achavarria, Columbia 72-71-64-68=275 (-13)
T4. Juan Pablo Candela, Columbia 66-73-69-68=276 (-12)
T4. Ming Chuan-Chen, Chinese Taipei 70-69-72-65=276 (-12)
T4. Daniel Willet, England 71-68-67-70=276 (-12)
7. Alan Wagner, Argentina 68-74-69-67=278 (-10)
T8. Jae An, New Zealand 72-70-67-70=277 (-9)
T8. Matthew Swan, United States 73-69-67-70=277 (-9)
10. Michael Green, United States 74-72-67-67=278 (-8)