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France Wins 2010 World Amateur Team Championship
Johann Lopez-Lazaro and Alexander Levy of France each shot even-par 72 to propel France to victory at the 2010 World Amateur Team Championship by four strokes over Denmark and five strokes over the USA to win the Eisenhower Trophy at Buenos Aires Golf Club in Argentina.
"It is unbelievable. It is fantastic," said Levy, 20, who won the French Amateur in 2009. "It is a great moment."
Romain Wattel, who shot a non-counting 74 and is the reigning Argentine Amateur champion, joined Levy as two of the three lowest individual scorers.
"It is fabulous for France and for our Federation and for all French golfers," Wattel said. "It has been a great week."
The French, with a 7-under-par 423, fended off the Danes and Americans in the last 12 holes of the weather-shortened 54-hole championship.
In that stretch, Lopez-Lazaro, the 2010 Portugal Amateur champion, overcame a poor start that included two bogeys and a double bogey in his first six holes by posting four birdies with no bogeys. His 25-foot birdie on the 18th hole gave him a final nine-hole score of 3-under 33. Levy holed a critical 50-putt birdie putt on the par-5 17th hole and was even par over those 12 holes.
"I looked at the leader board on 17 and saw France at five under and the Danish at four under," Levy said. "Then, I made that birdie. It was great."
Because of poor weather during the second round, the championship was reduced to 54 holes but the efficient French held the lead at the end of each round. With a compressed schedule, the top 17 teams started their third rounds on Sunday. In the third round, the leading teams played Buenos Aires Golf Club and the others played Olivos Golf Club. Winds gusted to approximately 20-30 mph most of the day.
France began the day with a one-stroke lead over Denmark and six ahead of the USA. Early in the round, the Danes had hope because of the play of Joachim Hansen, who was the low individual scorer at 6-under-par 209. With his birdie on the par-5 sixth, the Danes had a one-stroke lead.
"At 13, we thought we had a chance and we were quite sure the boys would do it," said Torben Nyehuus, Denmark's captain. "But it kind of slipped away. Look at the last six holes. We made a bogey and a double bogey. That's the way it is. We are small country with not a lot of good amateur golfers and this could be more than we could expect."
One hole after the Danes gained the lead, Lopez-Lazaro and Levy steadied their play and staved off a rally by the Americans. Led by 2010 U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein, who shot the lowest individual round of the day (2-under-par 70), the USA closed to within two strokes.
"They were solid and didn't make a lot of mistakes, at least (Alexander) Levy didn't," Uihlein said. "That made it hard to catch them. Obviously, it's disappointing but my hat is off to France. They played solid. They didn't make a lot of mistakes and it was probably too big of a lead."
The French team added to its second-place finish in 2002 and its tie for third in 1992 for a third medal in Eisenhower Trophy competition. Team captain Maitena Delamontage was a member of France's gold-medal winning team in the Women's World Amateur Team Championship in 2000.
"It is still a very special feeling," Delamontagne said. "I think I was more nervous on the first tee today than I was as a player. I was able to be active in the result as a player but as a captain I can only give advice but I cannot control anything else."
Denmark, at 427, claimed its first medal in the championship. The USA, at 428, now has 23 medals, with a top-10 finish in all 27 Eisenhower Trophy competitions.
Ireland and the USA had the low team score of the final day at 1-under-par 143.
In the top 10, the USA was followed by New Zealand, in fourth, at 435, defending champion Scotland in fifth at 436, Ireland at 439 in sixth and Germany at 440 in seventh. England, Belgium and Canada shared eighth place at 441.
For complete results and third-round groupings and starting times, visit www.internationalgolffederation.org and click on the Golfstat icon.
The above report is courtesy of the USGA. For more information, visit www.usga.org.