Golf was in the programme for the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing last month, ahead of its return to the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. The golf events took place at Nanjing Zhongshan International Golf Club and a total of 64 golfers, 32 male and 32 female, competed for medals in the individual boys’ and girls’ events and a mixed team event.
Italy’s Paratore wins golfing gold at 2014 Youth Olympic Games
Renato Paratore shot 66 to win the gold medal at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. He overturned a three shot deficit at the start of the day, moving from fifth to first, to win the Men’s Individual Stroke Play Golf Competition. His final round 66 meant he was 11-under-par for his last 36 holes, to beat Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult into second place.
Paratore, ranked fifth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, birdied the 17th and 18th to go from being one behind to one in front and then had a nervous wait as Kinhult came down the 18th. Kinhult, ranked just one place behind Paratore in the World Ranking, shot a final round 69 moving him up from bronze medal position to silver but with just two holes to go he had been in gold medal position. Thailand’s Danthai Boonma took the bronze medal.
Paratore commented, “I played really good on the long game and putted well today. I knew I was one off the lead when I was playing 17, so I knew I had to make two birdies to win. I was really pleased to make the birdies, one from ten metres and one from six. I was nervous watching Marcus playing the last hole but it is really nice to win the gold medal. My father is here and he is really excited for me. I can’t believe it. I’m very happy.”
Lee Soyoung from Korea wins gold in women’s event
The gold medal in the Women’s Individual Stroke Play competition was awarded to Lee Soyoung from Korea who played a near perfect final round. With no bogies and seven birdies the 17-year-old shot 65 to finish 14-under-par and three ahead of her nearest rival Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Ssu-Chia, who won the silver medal. Supamas Sangchan, from Thailand, finished four shots further back to claim the bronze.
Cheng matched Lee for much of the final round but could not claw back the two-shot gap between them at the start of the day and after failing to pick up a shot on the par three 17th she failed to match Lee’s birdie at the 18th to finish three shots behind.
The three medalists finished clear of the field with Virginia Elena Carta of Italy and Germany’s Olivia Cowan next best placed on two-under-par.
Lee said, “I was trying hard not to think about the Gold Medal. I played really solid today and made seven birdies and no bogies. To win the first Olympic Gold Medal in golf in more than 100 years, even though it is the Youth Olympic Games, is an amazing feeling.”
Sweden wins Youth Olympic gold in in Mixed Team event
Sweden won the gold medal in Mixed Team event at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics played at Zhongshan International Golf Club, China, following a play-off victory over Korea. The Swedish pairing of Marcus Kinhult, (who won the Silver Medal in the Men’s Individual Stroke Play event last week), and Linnea Strom won on the second extra hole against Korea when the 18-year-old Kinhult holed an eight foot birdie putt on the par four 18th hole to win the match and gold medals.
The Korean team of Lee Soyoung, (the Women’s Individual Stroke Play Gold Medalist), and Youm Eun Ho finished level with Sweden on 16-under-par. They trailed by one stroke coming down the 18th but Lee rolled in a 12 foot birdie putt to reach the play-off.
For bronze the Italian team of Renato Paratore, (who won Gold in the Men’s Individual Stroke Play), and Virginia Elena Carta came out on top in the play-off against Denmark’s John Paul Pultz Pinnerup Axelsen and Emily Kristine Pedersen by eight shots to nine at the first extra hole.
Linnea commented, “We never gave up and made a lot of birdies today”. Marcus added, “We had a lot of fun playing together as a team. I feel so happy and proud winning the Gold Medal. It’s fun to play as a team and is more enjoyable than individual games. To be part of the team, to be part of the Olympics and to win the gold medal has been so much fun.”