Steady Start for SA as Korea Lead

by | Jan 19, 2008

Ashleigh Simon watches her ball out of the rough on the first day of the Women's World Cup of Golf, at the Gary Player Golf Club, Sun City. Picture: Tristan Jones / The Ladies European Tour

Ashleigh Simon watches her ball out of the rough on the first day of the Women’s World Cup of Golf, at the Gary Player Golf Club, Sun City. Picture: Tristan Jones / The Ladies European Tour

The South African duo of Laurette Maritz and
Ashleigh Simon made a steady start to the 4th Women’s World Cup of
Golf with an opening round four-under-par 68.


They opened
with a par at the first and then went to one-under at the second with a birdie
three. Birdies at the fifth and seventh saw Maritz and Simon turn in a very
good three-under par 33.

Their back
nine was an uneventful one, however, picking up just one birdie, to end the day
tied for 13th place going into the second round.

But it was Korea that took the honours at Sun City as Ji-Yai
Shin and Ji Eun-Hee took to a liking to the Gary Player Golf Course with a
brilliant 11 under par 61 in the betterball to lead by one over France, with Canada third on eight under.

Shin is
being touted as the next Se Ri Pak and has given Korea the best possible start as
they seek to improve on finishes of third, fifth and second in the previous three
World Cups.

Pak has won
30 times as a professional and was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year.
But Shin, many believe, could be better than Pak, having won nine times last
year on the Korean LPGA Tour.

Besides her
nine victories in just 19 events, the world number seven also placed in the
top-10 in each of her tournaments except for one.

In her
rookie year she smashed Pak’s 10-year-old record for the most money as a rookie
in a Korean LPGA Tour season, winning on three occasions and finishing an
astonishing 12 times in the top five.

At a
tempestuous Gary Player Country Club on Friday, where plays was suspended for
two hours because of lightning, the Koreans went out in 30 with six birdies on
the front nine, followed by another five birdies on the back nine for a 31.

As their
nearest challengers, France
were equally impressive with their 62.

"If
someone told us that we would have shot 10-under today we would have signed
yesterday," said France’s
Gwaldys Nocera.

"It was
really fun out there," added Nocera. "When I was in trouble my
partner Virginie (Lagoutte-Clement) played well and when she was in trouble I
played great."

The players
were expected to struggle on a tough Gary Player Country Club layout, with its
thick rough and tricky greens, yet only one team shot an over par round in
Friday’s opening betterball. India,
on debut, carded a respectable one-over par 73, leaving them 12 shots behind
the leaders.

Despite
notching up 10 birdies, Nocera said that the course was playing tough if you
missed the fairway. "The course is playing really tough and every time you
miss the fairway you’re done for the hole."

Canada must have come into the clubhouse
thinking that their eight-under-par 64 was good enough to lead. However, they
must be content to go into Saturday’s foursomes three off the pace in third
place.

The
Canadians, like the Koreans and the French, never dropped a shot all day,
picking up eight birdies with nines of 33 and 31.

"For
the first tournament of the year you are trying to make good contact and shake
off some of the rough stuff, so we didn’t expect this score," Canada’s
Lorie Kane explained.

Defending
champions Paraguay
made a good start to the defence of their title, with a six-under-par 66.

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