|The French team of Gwladys Noceraand Virginie Lagoutte-Clement with Nocera’s caddie|
She explained via an interpreter: “The fairways are narrow and the rough is long, so we tried to place our tee shots in the fairways. Making birdies on holes eight through 11 was because of good tee shots in the fairways.”
Ji, who is a second year player on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), added: “I got some hints of where to hit the tee shots from my teammate, so we are playing like we are supposed to be.”
The little known Ji posted two top tens from four starts on the LPGA in 2007, which included second at the Hana Bank KOLON Championships and joint fifth at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. This year she will spend most of her year competing on the LPGA Tour in America, where she is now fully exempt.
The colourful Shin is seen as one of the brightest stars of the women’s game in South Korea and is being touted as the next Se Ri Pak. Teamed with Young Kim, she finished third in the 2007 Women’s World Cup.
On a tempestuous day at the Gary Player Country Club, where play was suspended for two hours and ten minutes because of lightning, team France were also able to take advantage to post ten birdies in total.
“Virginie birdied 14 and then we got stopped because of the weather and I told her, ‘It’s a good thing because I’m not feeling too good. I’m going to have a coffee and come back strong.’ And I made birdie on 16 and 18!” joked Nocera.
Lagoutte-Clement is four months pregnant with her first daughter by her husband Sebastien, who is also a French professional and her caddie. Her silky putting helped her to contribute six of the French pair’s ten birdies.
Canada must have come into the clubhouse thinking that their eight-under-par 64 was good enough to lead. However, they must be content to go into Saturday’s foursomes three off the pace. The Canadians, like the Koreans and the French, never dropped a shot all day, picking up eight birdies.
“For the first tournament of the year you are trying to make good contact and shake off some of the rough stuff, so we didn’t expect this score,” Canada’s Lorie Kane explained.
The home nation of South Africa made a steady start to the World Cup with a four-under-par round of 68. The second round’s foursomes will begin at 8am local time on Saturday, with the leaders teeing off at 9.30am.