Stellenbosch, South Africa (October 21, 2006) -– South Africa withstood a surge by defending champion Sweden and won the 2006 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship on a tiebreaker, becoming the first victorious host nation since 1980.
“It is still amazing to me that we won,” South African captain Sandra Winter said of winning the nation’s Espirito Santo Trophy in 17 appearances. “I thought that after we had a slow start we might have a strong finish and we did.”
Playing at De Zalze Golf Club, Ashleigh Simon, 17, of Johannesburg, and Kelli Shean, 18, of Cape Town, each shot 2-over par 74 for their final day total of 148. Teammate Stacy Bregman, 19, of Standton, shot 75.
Sweden, made up a four-stroke deficit to South Africa, even taking the lead for a brief time. They tied the host nation at 10-under-par for a 72-hole total of 566.
Their counting scores were a 3-under-par 69 from Caroline Westrup and a 75 from either Anna Nordqvist and Sofie Andersson. Their final round total was 144.
With the initial tie-breaker (final round non-counting score) being equal on 75s from Bregman, and either Nordqvist of Andersson, the procedure moved to the second criteria, the non-counting score from the third round. South Africa’s Simon shot 73 in the third round and Sweden’s Andersson shot 77.
In 2002, Australia won over Thailand using the first criteria, the only other time this procedure has been employed.
“It means so much to me, especially when you win in your home country,” Bregmam said of her country being only the third champion on home soil.
The USA won at home in 1980 and France won in 1964. South Africa’s previous best finish was tied for second in 1974
Shean, who birdied four consecutive holes on the back nine, was the only member of the winning team to have all four of her scores count. In the ebb and flow of the scoring on the second nine holes, her birdie run and two clutch par putts from Simon, on the 16th and 17th holes, were critical.
“I don’t think anybody was expecting us to win,” she said. “But, we proved we could.”
Sweden was vying to become the first team to win consecutive championships since the USA in 1988 and 1990. The Swedes are the only country to finish in the top 10 in all 22 championships.
“If we get a few hours away from this, we will like the silver medal,” said Sweden’s coach Katarina Vangdal. “I was not surprised by South Africa after I saw them the first day. They had a great tournament. They were impressive.”
Colombia moved from tied for 11th place into bronze-medal placing. With a 6-under-par 66 from Carolina Llano, the low round of the day, and a 2-under-par 70 from Eileen Vargas, the Colombians registered a 136, the lowest final round team total in championship history.
France was fourth at 568; Germany and Japan tied for fifth at 569; New Zealand placed seventh at 570; Spain was eight at 572; the USA ninth at 574; and, Chinese Taipei was 10th at 576.
In the World Amateur, the team’s two best individual scores count.
Although there is no official recognition, Sweden’s Westrup shot the lowest individual total of the championship at 8-under-par 280.
The 2008 championships will be played at Royal Adelaide and The Grange Golf Clubs in Adelaide, Australia.
The International Golf Federation was founded in 1958 to encourage the international development of the game and to employ golf as a vehicle to foster friendship and sportsmanship. The IGF is the recognized international federation for golf for the International Olympic Committee and comprises the national governing bodies of golf of more than 100 countries.
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ABOUT THE Women's World Amateur Team
In 1958 the United States Golf Association asked
The R&A to join them in sponsoring a world-wide
amateur golf team event to be played biennially
in non-Walker Cup years. Between 35 and 40
nations were represented at the first meeting
and President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented
the trophy which bears his name. The committee
of the event was to be known as the World
Amateur Golf Council and is now the
International Golf Federation. Teams of four
players from each country competed over 72
holes with the leading three scores from each
round to count. The first competition was held
between 29 nations at St Andrews, with Australia
beating the United States in a play-off. In 2002
the format changed to teams of three with the
two leading scores to count.
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