Kobori leads New Zealand to top-five Eisenhower finish

Kazuma Kobori has won the individual standings at the World Amateur Teams Championship, leading New Zealand to a top-five finish at the Eisenhower Trophy in Abu Dhabi.

Kobori is the second Kiwi to finish in the top spot individually, following in the footsteps of Phil Tataurangi in 1992.

The 21-year-old fired an incredible seven-under 65 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club overnight, helping his Kiwi side to an eight-under team total in the final round, putting them 23-under for the tournament in equal fifth. USA ran away with the team’s trophy, finishing 36-under-par, 11 shots ahead of Norway and Australia.

Kobori says his game felt solid over the weekend.

“I played really nicely over the last few days. I think I made a total of 16 birdies which is always fun.”

New Zealand’s Kobori battled illness all week, shooting 70, 70, and 67 heroically before last night's final round. He started round four solidly, opening with birdies at one, four, and six to go out in three-under before catching fire in his closing nine holes. He birdied 10 and bogeyed 11, and then made back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13. Following a clinical birdie at 17, Kobori chipped in on the par 5 last for a birdie to seal the individual honours over US Amateur champion Nick Dunlop.

Kobori has had an incredible 2023, winning the Australian Amateur, the Western Amateur, the Elite Amateur Series, and now the Eisenhower individual trophy. He says the Kiwis should be very proud of their finish this week.

“We came 35th last year, so considering that it’s a very good step up.”

Taranaki’s Sam Jones shot the second counting score again today, shooting a one-under 71, contributing to the team score for a third time.

He made four bogeys, three birdies, and an eagle two at the par 4 13th to finish four-under-par in a share of 39th, after shooting 69, 72, and 72 in the first three rounds. Jones finished in a tie for 39th.

Jayden Ford shot even in his final round, finishing on an even par total in equal 64th.

The trio head to Melbourne to compete in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship this week.

The New Zealand women’s World Amateur Teams Championship have also arrived in Abu Dhabi, ready to begin their Espírito Santo Trophy campaign.

1. USA -36

2. Norway, Australia -25

4. France -24

5. NZ, Italy -23