U.S. 10 shots off pace at Women’s World Cup


SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) – Paraguay held a four-stroke lead Friday after the first day of the Women’s World Cup of Golf, with the United States 10 shots off the pace.

Pat Hurst shot a 74 and Juli Inkster a 75 as the Americans struggled in the heat on a day when only five players broke par in the 44-player field at Gary Player Country Club.

Paraguay was at 139 behind Celeste Troche’s 3-under-par 69 and Julieta Granada’s 70. South Korea, with Ji Yai Shin shooting 71 and Young Kim 72, was at 143.

Scotland, with Mhairi McKay (69) and Janice Moodie (76), shared third at 145 with Italy’s Giulia Sergas (72) and Veronica Zorzi (73).

The U.S. was at 149 and defending champion Sweden was at 157. The Americans and Denmark (149) could be in the last group that can still challenge for the title by Sunday. New Zealand (146) and Wales and Australia (148) are the other contenders.

Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson shot a 78 and Carin Koch 79 to lose their grip on the title won last year by Annika Sorenstam and Liselotte Neumann.

With a new format – singles opening the tournament instead of concluding it, foursomes on day two and better ball the final day – many countries will have trouble getting back in contention.

“The damage has already been done,” Moodie said, “so we are just pleased to be only a few shots off the pace and in a position to challenge.”

Troche and Granada have played together since they were juniors and hope to capitalize on that in the alternate-shot format of the second day.

“We’ve played this format before about four years ago so we are used to each other,” Granada said.

AP-ES-01-19-07 1236EST