Emily Tubert celebrate during Day 2
of The Spirit International.
TRINITY, TEXAS |
When you beat a field
of the best amateurs in the world by 10
shots, as the U.S. team did Saturday at
the sixth playing of The Spirit Interna-
tional at Whispering Pines Golf Club,
there’s really not much left to say.
American Nathan Smith found some
fitting words, however.
“That was a perfect ending to an
amazing week,” said Smith, who ignited
the final rally with a tap-in eagle on the
14th hole that pushed the U.S. team
to a lopsided gold medal performance
in the International Team Division.
The Americans posted a final score of
31-under par in the 72-hole, best-ball,
Argentina and Mexico tied for the
silver medal at 21 under, and Korea
took home the bronze with a score of
20-under par. For the United States,
this was the second consecutive team
title and third overall. The Americans
also won gold in 2003.
took aim at the green on the gorgeous
par- 4 14th hole that plays over an inlet
of Lake Livingston.
“There has been some talk recently
about the American teams’ ability to
close out these kinds of tournaments,”
said U.S. captain David Fay, the former
executive director of the USGA. “This
great team punctuated a fabulous
week and showed that Americans can
Smith and Kraft did more than that.
Their final round combined score of
8-under-par 64 lifted them into rarefied
air. The duo won the Men’s Team Divi-
sion at 18-under 270. They also tied five
other players for the Men’s Individual
title. The American men join Americans
Paula Creamer, Lorena Ochoa and Lexi
Thompson and England’s Daniel Willett
as the only players in the history of The
Spirit to win three gold medals in a
“This was a bit of redemption for me
and Nathan both,” said Kraft, the reign-
ing U.S. Amateur and two-time Texas
Amateur champion. “We both played for
the U.S. in the Walker Cup, but we lost.
Everyone said we were the heavy favor-
ites over there, but we didn’t get it done.
Playing for your country is such a special
honor, but you really want to win. It feels
great to take the gold here at The Spirit.”
The U.S. was so dominant in the final
round that it would be easy to overlook
Mexico’s performance. But the Mexicans
played nearly as well as their neighbors
to the north. Ortiz said they will head
home content with the silver medal.
Kelly Kraft (left) and Nathan Smith won the Men’s
Team Division with an 18-under 270 total.
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