Canadian fans lamenting their country’s failure to bring home a medal from the world junior hockey championships can ease their pain through the Copa de las Americas if they’re golf fans, as well.
Toronto’s Albin Choi, Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., and Augusta James of Bath, Ont., combined for a four-day 1177 to win the team event at Doral by one stroke over Mexico and two strokes over the defending champion United States.
It was the third such title for Canada, which also won the event in 2003 and 2005.
Canada went into the event with a five-stroke lead over the U.S. and Mexico, but both charged into contention down the stretch when Choi sunk a 12-foot par putt on the 18th hole to secure the victory.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team this week,” said Robert Ratcliffe, who coached the team at Doral.
“We did a great job in preparing for and reviewing each round and making the necessary adjustments,” he added.
“Our post-round evaluations and practices went extremely well and the fact that the players were familiar with one another from the Team Canada program and the World Amateur Team Championships brought a great sense of team to the group,” said Ratcliffe.
Conners echoed that thought.
“It feels great to come away with the win,” he said. “Everyone on the team played great and we had lots of fun. We stumbled a bit at the end, but Albin came through with a huge par on the last to secure the win.”
The duo of Choi and Conners earned runner-up honors in the men’s team competition, finishing four strokes back of Mexico’s Rodolfo Cazauban and Carlos Ortiz at 3-over par 579.
Choi, a junior at North Carolina State, and Conners, a junior at Kent State, finished at even par 288 and three over par 291 respectively.
Team USA, meanwhile, claimed the women’s team title for a third consecutive time as Americans Lindy Duncan and Erynne Lee bested Henderson and James by one stroke for the win.
One the women’s side, Henderson and James were also runner-up, finishing just one stroke behind the Americans.
The Canadian duo posted a 22-over 598 as Henderson shot five over 293 and James, a sophomore at North Carolina State University, shot 17-over 305.
Individually, Henderson placed third, while James was fifth. On the men’s side, Choi tied for second and Conners was sixth.
Lee of the United States led the women in individual scoring at 3-over par 291, two strokes clear of Henderson who placed third and 14 strokes ahead of James who was fifth.