24 AUGUST, 2022 - IGF GOLF: The American duo of Rachel Heck and Rose Zhang, who are also teammates at Stanford University, shot 68 and 69, respectively as the USA fashioned a one-stroke lead over Germany.
In defense of the Espirito Santo Trophy title it won in Ireland in 2018, the USA is vying to become the first back-to-back winner since the Republic of Korea (2010 and 2012).
Heck and Zhang, who were also teammates on the victorious USA Curtis Team earlier this summer, totaled 5-under-par 137 on the par-71 Le Golf National. Heck’s 3-under 68 included four birdies (three in her last eight holes) and a bogey.
“It was a really steady day,” said Heck, who was the NCAA Division I women’s golf individual champion in 2021. “I felt super confident in my game. I had a lot of good birdie looks and some of them happened to go in but in a long tournament like this it is important to start steady and feel confident. There is a lot of golf left to play.”
Zhang, a three-time Mark H. McCormack medal winner as the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, totaled four birdies and a double bogey. Teammate Rachel Kuehn, another USA Curtis Cup Team member, gave the Americans a third sub-par score at 1-under 70 albeit non-counting.
“It was a great start,” said USA captain Pam Murray. “The girls all played well. The course played hard. It is a beautiful course and we played with great players from Japan and France. We couldn’t be happier with how the girls played.”
Also, at Le Golf National, Germany rode a pair of 2-under 69s from Alexandra Forsterling and Helen Briem to post a 4-under total of 138.
“We just kept steady, especially on the back nine,” said Forsterling, who just completed her college career at Arizona State University. “We had some troubles on our front nine. We hung in there and made some birdies in the end and that’s what got us back. I’m really proud of us. And hopefully, we can make some more birdies over the next couple of days.”
Playing in its fifth WWATC, Poland had its best day in its competition history as Kinga Ksumierksa fired a 70 and Dorota Zalewska shot 71 to propel the team to a T3 finish at 3-under-par with South Africa and Switzerland, who all played at Golf de Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche.
“It means a lot to play like this,” said Zalewska, who plays at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. “We are hungry to win for Poland. We have a great team, and we are going in the right direction. We are trying to make history.”
Australia and Chinese Taipei were tied for sixth with Finland, Spain and Sweden tied for eighth.,
The host French team stands in 13th place after Round 1.