Puerto Rican men off to solid start at WATC
By Alberto C. Medina / PRGA Staff Writer
(October 4, 2012) - Puerto Rico got off to a good start at the Men’s World Amateur Championship, ending up in 25th place after the first round of play in Antalya, Turkey.
Erick Morales led the squad with a round of -1, and Jerónimo Esteve shot +3 on the Faldo Course, to give Puerto Rico an aggregate score of +2; Robert Calvesbert, the third member of the team, shot +6. This first round puts the Puerto Rican squad in a good position to improve over the next three days and perhaps match or improve on the performance by the ladies, who finished 20th in the Women’s Championship a week earlier.
“I hit the ball well and I feel good about my game,” said Morales. I had four birdies and an eagle, and three bogeys and a double. The bogeys weren’t due to big mistakes, but the course demands a lot of precision because the slightest mistake will lead to a bogey or worse. I feel great about tomorrow (Friday) and ready to improve on today’s round,” he added.
Esteve, who reported that a rules official hurried him at one point and caused him to lose some of his focus, agreed with Morales about the course – and about feeling confident for the coming rounds.
“It’s a course that demands a lot of precision on every shot. I’m ready for tomorrow; I was able to fix some things in my swing after the round that should help me tomorrow,” said Esteve.
Calvesbert, for his part, fell prey to the tough nature of the course, with a triple-bogey and two double-bogeys against just one birdie on the day. Still, he felt that his overall play was good. “Aside from those three holes, I had a good day from the tee to the greens. I’m positive that those putts will drop tomorrow and, if I avoid those big numbers, I should have a solid round,” he said.
The United States, which won the event three straight times from 2000-2004 and features two of the top-three ranked amateur golfers in the world, had a spectacular day to finish at -13 and take control of the leaderboard. México is second at -9, and the Republic of Korea, which won the ladies’ championship, is third at -8.
Play continues tomorrow as Morales, Esteve and Calvesbert take on the Sultan course starting at 8:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. local time) as they look to improve on Puerto Rico’s 32nd place finish in the 2010 Championship.