22 January 2007
Paraguay, playing in the Women’s World Cup of Golf for the first time, stunned the other 21 competing countries at Sun City, to win the event by a big seven-shot margin. The United States finished second, with South Korea in third, and South Africa tied for sixteenth.
Paraguay has only six golf courses in the entire country, but the tournament rookies made their mark from the opening round of singles, carding a 69 and a 70 to register a tournament record five-under-par for the opening round.
Celeste Troche, who has only conditional non-exempt status on the LPGA Tour, fired a three-under 69 over the Gary Player Country Club course, while Julieta Granada, a rising star on the LPGA, went around in 70.
In the alternate foursomes, played on Saturday, the Paraguayans posted a 75, before sealing a convincing wire-to-wire victory on Sunday with a seven-under-par 65 in betterball competition. That left them on nine-under-par 279, well clear of the USA, represented by the experienced duo of Juli Inkster and Pat Hurst.
“Hopefully this win will boost golf back home in Paraguay and get the young girls interested,” said Granada, who won the LPGA’s season-ending ADT Championship to pocket a record $1-million.
Looking back on her experience at Sun City, Granada said: “The people are so good. The crowds were awesome this week. They were cheering us on and they liked our outfits. It was a lot of fun. And the baboons. I liked the baboons. They are all my friends.”
‘The whole resort is just amazing’
Troche loved her experience at the world-famous resort. She said: “The hotel was fantastic. I’ve never been in a place like that. The whole resort is just amazing.”
The USA’s Inkster, a Golf Hall of Fame member, complemented the South Americans on their victory. “Paraguay deserved to win. They played great three days in a row,” she said.
The opening day of singles left the Americans in a hole from which they were unable to recover at they turned in rounds of 74 and 75, which left them 10 shots adrift of the Paraguayans. A 70 in the third round, the best score of any team, pulled them back to within five shots of the winners.
South Korea secured third-place on 287 after matching the USA with a final round 67. Their third-round performance, a five-over 77, kept them from passing the Americans.
Scotland, runners-up at Sun City in 2006, tied for fourth with Italy.
Hosts South Africa never managed to mount any sort of challenge after a poor opening round in the singles, with Laurette Maritz posting a 77 and Ashleigh Simon a 78. In the alternate foursomes they combined for a 78 before closing strongly with a 66 in the betterball competition.
Assessing South Africa’s showing, Laurette Maritz said: “We tried a bit too hard on the first day. We should have just stayed steady. But we really came back on the final day.”
South Africa’s 301 tied them for sixteenth with last year’s champions Sweden and Spain.
- 279 – Paraguay (Troche, Granada) 69-70-75-65
- 286 – United States (Hurst, Inkster) 74-75-70-67
- 287 – Korea (Shin, Young) 71-72-77-67
- 289 – Scotland (McKay, Moodie) 69-76-76-68; Italy (Sergas, Zorzi) 72-73-73-71
- 291 – Australia (Wright, Garrett) 72-76-74-69
- 293 – Taiwan (Hung, Ling) 71-79-77-66
- 294 – Wales (Brewerton, Morgan) 74-74-78-68
- 295 – England (Johnson, Davies) 76-78-74-67
- 296 – New Zealand (Brooky, McKinnon) 72-74-77-73; Finland (Kuosa, Hakkarainen) 74-76-72-74
- 297 – Brazil (Hanneman, Iida) 77-77-72-71
- 299 – France (Nocera, Arricau) 78-79-73-69
- 300 – Japan (Ueda, Moromizato) 77-78-78-67; Denmark (Juul, Tinning) 74-75-83-68
- 301 – South Africa (Maritz, Simon) 77-80-78-66; Spain (Elosegui, Sanchez) 77-78-80-66 308; Sweden ( Alfredsson, Koch) 78-79-81-70
- 313 – Germany (Monke, Simon) 72-93-73-75; Norway (Saether, Skarpnord) 80-80-75-78
- 315 – Ireland (Kavanagh, Coakley) 80-80-80-75
- 339 – Kenya (Njoroge, Naliaka) 81-88-91-79