TOYOTA CITY, Japan – The United States finished second at the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup 2010 supported by JAL at Chukyo Golf Club’s Ishino Course. Yarik Merkulov tied for fourth individually at 8-under. Japan won the team title while Yosuke Asaji of Japan, Canada’s Corey Conners and Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard tied for medalist honors at 10-under 274.
Team USA entered the round in second place, six shots behind Japan. The Americans struggled out of the gate, but rallied to play the front nine at 3-over. Strong performances by Canada, Denmark and Thailand allowed them to pass the United States late in the round. However, two late birdies by Oliver Schniederjans and a pair of eagles by Cameron Wilson allowed the U.S. to move into a four-way tie at 15-under with Merkulov on 18 putting for birdie.
“At the time I was just thinking it was any old putt just to close the round,” said Merkulov. “Coach Mahanic came up and told me it was a big putt. I was like ‘all right, let’s focus on this. Let’s make sure I get a good stroke on it.’ If it doesn’t go at least I can hang my hat saying I at least made a good stroke. When he told me that it was big putt I was actually really excited. I was pumped. This is big. It will mean something. That got me focused more.”
Merkulov was 2-under - and in middle of a bogey-free round - when sizing up his downhill 15-footer. His ball was at the back of the green with a right-to-left break. Merkulov committed to a line and started his putt cup right of the hole. His putt went in dead center to move back to 3-under individually and the United States 16-under as a team and back in sole possession of second place.
“The guys played very hard from start to finish,” said USA Head Coach Matt Mahanic. “We just weren’t able to execute the shots and pull it off. All in all, it was a fantastic week. Today just didn’t work out how we wanted. The guys did a great job of battling back. Oliver, Cameron, Yarik was steady; they did a great job of battling back. When you dig yourself such a big hole it’s tough to be able to make up ground.”
Team Results1. Japan 206-205-205-206=822 (-30)
2. United States 202-209-211-214=836 (-16)
T3. Canada 216-212-206-203=837 (-15)
T3. Denmark 212-212-207-206=837 (-15)
T3. Thailand 205-209-213-210=837 (-15)
6. Argentina 206-215-206-217=844 (-8)
7. South Africa 211-214-212-209=846 (-6)
8. Australia 219-212-205-212=848 (-2)
9. India 205-223-211-213=852 (E)
10. Germany 221-215-215-213=864 (+12)
11. Columbia 216-219-221-220=876 (+24)
12. Guatemala 230-228-220-230+908 (+56)
Top 10 and USA Individual Results
T1. Yosuke Asaji, JPN 69-73-67-65=274 (-10)
T1. Corey Conners, CAN 73-70-65-66=274 (-10)
T1. Lucas Bjerregaard, DEN 69-68-67-70=274 (-10)
T4. Yarik Merkulov, USA 69-70-69-68=276 (-8)
T4. Taihei Sato, JPN 69-69-69-69=276 (-8)
T6. Brandon Stone, RSA 71-68-70-69=278 (-6)
T6. Genzo Tokimatsu, JPN 71-63-71-73=278 (-6)
T8. Thomas Sorensen, DEN 71-71-70-67=279 (-5)
T8. Poom Saksansin, THA 68-73-68-70=279 (-5)
T8. Atiwit Janewattananond, THA 68-66-72-73=279 (-5)
T11. Bobby Wyatt, USA 67-67-69-77=280 (-4)
T16. Cameron Wilson, USA 66-72-73-71=282 (-2)
T34. Oliver Schniederjans, USA 70-73-74-75=292 (+8)
ROUND ONE COMMENTS:
TOYOTA CITY, Japan – The United States fired 11-under 202 to stand atop the leader board following the opening round of the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup 2010 supported by JAL at Chukyo Golf Club’s Ishino Course. Team USA’s Cameron Wilson leads individually after posting 5-under 66.
The United States got off to a slow start, but made the turn with Bobby Wyatt sitting at 3-under and Yarik Merkulov at 1-under. The Americans heated up on the back nine with all four players shooting under par on the back and for the round. Wilson - who recovered from a 2-over after four holes start - posted 31 on the back nine - including a stretch of eagle-birdie-birdie on Nos. 15-17 - to move from even par to 5-under. Wyatt missed a short par putt on No. 18 to fall to a tie for second overall at 4-under 67. Yaruslav Merkulov sits in a seven-way tie for tenth at 2-under 69 while Oliver Schniederjans shot 70.
“I think that what they (the U.S. team) did that was most impressive is that they stuck with the game plan and executed shots,” said USA coach Matt Mahanic. “They didn’t go for anything that they didn’t need to, played good golf and took advantage of the course when they were able. Cameron Wilson’s round was spectacular given he was 2-over early in his round and fought back to post 66. Bobby (Wyatt) played very solid and didn’t have any bogeys until the 18th hole. Yarik (Merkoluv) played fantastic, like a rock back there. Ollie (Oliver Schniederjans) birdied three of the last four. I’m really excited going forward the next three days.”
After his slow start Wilson moved back to even after birdies on the sixth and eighth holes. Four pars would follow a birdie at No. 10 before his strong finish.
“I hit a couple of loose shots on the front nine,” said individual leader Cameron Wilson of the United States. “Then I made a couple of birdies to get it back to even. The back nine I played really well. The beginning of the back nine I lipped out a lot of birdie putts. Then I finished really strong - an eagle and two birdies at the very end of my round.”