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New Zealand three clear in race for Eisenhower Trophy

New Zealand's Denzel Ieremia - shares the lead in the race for individual honours (Photo: USGA Steve Gibbons)
New Zealand has extended its lead at the World Amateur Teams Championship in Ireland, the three man team of Daniel Hillier, Denzel Ieremia and Kerry Mountcastle now three shots ahead of Thailand, Spain and The USA in the race for the Eisenhower Trophy.

The lead fluctuated between all three teams during the day but a late burst by, more especially, Hillier saw them draw clear after Ieremia had earlier recorded a round of 65 on the Montgomerie Course at Carton House near Dublin to open to door for the 54 hole lead.

Ieremia, who has been at college in Iowa in the USA in recent years, is tied for the lead with Japan’s Takumi Kanaya in the race for individual honours, that pair one ahead one ahead of Spain’s Alejandro Del Ray with Daniel Hillier another shot back in 4th place.

New Zealand’s third team member Mountcastle has yet to contribute to the team total in an event where the leading two scores of the three on each day count towards the team total but his round of 70 was a big improvement on his earlier efforts and he may yet be a valuable contributor by the end of proceedings tomorrow.

New Zealand has won the prestigious title on one previous occasion, that coming 26 years ago in Canada and so are now well placed to record a significant double for their country. Two of that team’s members, Michael Campbell and Phil Tataurangi would go on to record successful professional careers, both winning on the PGA Tour and Campbell winning the 2005 US Open.   

“That would be really cool,” said Ieremia of emulating the 1992 team. “I played college golf and I have always said that winning a team event is way more thrilling than winning an individual one. To have an opportunity to try to convert tomorrow is pretty cool.”

The New Zealanders will face a tough task tomorrow with the volatile nature of the scoring format ensuring intrigue right to the finish. 15-time winner of the event, the USA, has improved each day and now poses a great threat to the leaders.

Australia continued its daily improvement by moving into a share of 12th from its overnight 14th place, Minwoo Lee’s round of 66 on the Montgomerie layout the standout amongst the group of him, Shae Wools Cobb and David Micheluzzi. Wools-Cobb and Micheluzzi both recorded rounds of 71.

Such is the quality of the scoring however that Lee’s 54 hole total of 11 under is good enough for only 13th place.

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