Date: October 22, 2007

South Africans taste glory on home soil

South Africa withstood a surge by defending champion Sweden and won the 2006 Women&aposs 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&aposs first 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, the low individual scorer for the championship, and a 75 from either Anna Nordqvist and Sofie Andersson. Their final round total was 144. With the initial tiebreaker (final round non-counting score) being equal on 75s from Bregman, and either Nordqvist or Andersson, the procedure moved to the second criteria, the non-counting score from the third round. South Africa&aposs Ashleigh Simon shot 73 in the third round and Sweden&aposs Andersson shot 77. In 2002, Australia won over Thailand using the first criteria, the only other time a tiebreaker was needed. “It means so much to me, especially when you win in your home country,” Bregman said. The USA won at home in 1980 and France won in 1964. South Africa&aposs previous best finish was a tie 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&apost think anybody was expecting us to win,” Shean said. “But we proved we could.” Sweden was vying to become the first team to wion consecutive championships since the USA did 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&aposs coach Katarina Vangdal. “I&aposm 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 eighth at 572; the United States of America was ninth at 574; and Chinese Taipei was 10th at 576.