TRINITY, Texas — Georgia’s Caterina Don captained Italy to fifth- and seventh-place finishes in the women’s and combined co-ed competitions, respectively, at the Spirit International Amateur Championship on Saturday. Italy completed the 54-hole, four-ball stroke play tournament at 13-under in the women’s event and at 28-under in the co-ed competition at Whispering Pines Golf Club.
On the women’s side, Don and teammate Virginia Bossi, a freshman at Virginia, shot rounds of 67, 69 and 67 and finished nine shots off the pace of Korea. Italy tied with New Zealand and Scotland.
Italy’s co-ed team also featured Pietro Bovari, a freshman at Virginia, and Giovanni Manzoni, a sophomore at Lynn University. They teamed to post efforts of 70, 66 and 65. Italy’s tally was nine shots from tourney-winning France and tied with Scotland for seventh.
Don had a little more thrust upon her when she arrived at Whispering Pines. She received a text message from the Italian Golf Federation that informed her that she would be the team captain in addition to playing.
“I mean, it was a surprise,” she said. “They told me you’re going to be by yourself with your team. I don’t feel like there’s a difference between playing captains and players. As the captain, my biggest responsibility is probably just keeping everyone on a schedule, making sure everyone’s on time, not skipping anything and not messing around. We’re a pretty good team so we can do that together.”
Nineteen countries sent teams to the Spirit Am: Argentina, Australia, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. Seventeen of the 76 golfers are currently ranked among the top 100 in the world.
The tournament began in 2001 and is traditionally held every other year. The 2019 event will be the first since 2015, as the 2017 tourney was canceled due to Hurricane Harvey. Prominent alums of the Spirit International include women’s golfers such as Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer and Brooke Henderson and men’s players Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Francesco Molinari.
The Spirit Golf Association, a charity that is dedicated to the promotion of amateur golf for the benefit of health-related causes, has contributed more than $12 million to its charitable activities.