MINAKUCHI, Japan The United States shot even par to hold off South Africa and win the 2004 Toyota Junior World Golf Cup at the 7,006-yard, par 72 bear`s Paw Country Club in Minakuchi, Japan. The title was the USA`s first since 2000 and sixth overall. South Africa`s Matthew Kent was two-under-par for the round to win the individual title by seven strokes.
The United States - who led after each of the previous three rounds and finished at a World Junior Golf Cup record 25-under-par 839 - were four shots clear of South Africa entering the day and built the advantage to six at the turn. South Africa charged hard - led by Kent`s 70 and Anton Haig`s 69 - combined with several American bogeys to trim the lead to a single stroke. Will Osborne made birdie on 15 and 18 to push the lead back to three but the match was not in hand until Kent failed to eagle 18. Patton Kizzire scored the only round under par for the U.S. with 69.
`I`m proud of the way these men played today,`said United States Head Coach Mike Ketcham. `These weren`t deal conditions with the rain and they could have let things away from them after 13 and 14 but they hung in there and made tough shots. All four of our men contributed in this tournament and were there to pick each other up if they had a bad round. I couldn`t be prouder of the way they conducted themselves.?E
Spain (845) placed third and was followed by South Korea (849), Canada (852), Argentina (857), Japan (859) and Austria (860), who were all under par. New Zealand (873) came in ninth with Colombia (881), Italy (883) and Mexico (883) rounding out the scoring.
Kent`s mark of 18-under-par also set the Junior World Golf Cup individual record. There was a three-way tie for second between Pablo Martin Benavides of Spain, Argentina`s Estanislao Goya and Garrett Sapp of the United States at 11-under. Won-Kyong Heo finished eight strokes back at 278. Kizzire and Lluis Garcia Del Moral of Spain tied for sixth (283, -5) while Japan`s Daisuke Yasumoto, Gerardo Porras (284) of Mexico, Canada`s Ryan Lidkea (285) and Keven Fortin Simard (285) rounded out the top 10.