World Cup: SA, Sweden & Argentina lead

South Africans Rory Sabbatini and Richard Sterne stormed into a three-way tie for the lead in the WGC-World Cup first round on Thursday.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
  • Total Shares

Saint James, Barbados:

England's Luke Donald and David Howell, the highest-ranked combination in the 24-team event, began as favourites for the WGC-World Cup. The event began at the Sandy Lane Resort's Country Club Course in Barbados on Thursday. Brothers Robert and Stephen Ames were representing Trinidad and Tobago, and Stephen had some bad luck on the 11th hole when his birdie putt lipped out. Canada's Mike Weir produced one of the putts of the day on the 14th, but it was only to save par and he and partner Jim Rutledge ended the day at two-under-par after a 69. Other standings Manuel Merizalde and Camilo Villegas of Colombia were one of four teams tied for ninth place at four-under. Also at four-under were the Scottish pair of Marc Warren and Colin Montgomerie, whose second shot to the 17th set up a birdie chance, which he took. The United States pairing of Stewart Cink and J J Henry had six birdies and a bogey in their round of 66 which left them in a share of sixth place at five-under. They were alongside South Korea and the English duo of Howell and Donald who had three two's in their round. Marcel Siem and Bernhard Langer were outright leaders at one point, but had to settle for a share of fourth place after a six-under 65. The defending champions, the Welsh duo of Bradley Dredge and Stephen Dodd, who won a rain-affected tournament in Portugal a year ago, also shot a six-under 65. Leading nations There were three leaders after the first round. Sweden's Carl Pettersson and Henrik Stenson had a bogey-free round of seven-under 64 and moved into joint leadership with a birdie at the last. Andres Romero and Angel Cabrera of Argentina started badly by dropping a shot at the first, but eight birdies, including five in a row from the 12th saw them into a share of the lead. Argentina, with Roberto de Vicenzo and Antonio Cerda, won the inaugural World Cup in 1953 but have failed to pick up the trophy since. The third nation to top the leaderboard were South Africa, whose pairing of Rory Sabbatini and Richard Sterne collected five birdies on the back nine to finish at seven-under. Thursday's opening round was in a fourball format. Friday will feature foursomes, or alternate shot, action before the format switches back to fourballs on Saturday and foursomes on the final day.(AP)