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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 16:33 GMT
England surge into World Cup lead
Luke Donald
-13 England
-12 India, Australia
-11 Wales, Sweden
-10 Spain, Chinese Taipei
-9 Paraguay, France, Japan, Netherlands
Selected others:
-7 Scotland, USA
-5 Ireland
English duo Luke Donald and David Howell surged into the lead after the first round of the WGC-World Cup in Portugal on Thursday.

The pair fired an opening 59 for 13 under in the fourball format, where the best score from the team counts.

England led India's Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa by one shot with Australians Mark Hensby and Peter Lonard also on 12 under at Vilamoura.

The Welsh pair of Bradley Dredge and Stephen Dodd were 11 under with Sweden.

Spain's Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez were 10 under, with Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and Scott Drummond on seven under alongside America (Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson).

Ireland's Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley limped to a disappointing five-under 67.

Half of the 24 teams carded scores of 64 or lower on the 7,174-yard Arnold Palmer-designed Victoria Clube de Golfe.

We thought 18 under was still on after the 10th
Luke Donald

The tournament is a stroke-play event but will alternate between better ball and the alternate-shot foursomes format.

"Foursomes is tougher and you wouldn't expect to score better than fourballs," said Donald, who won the event last year with Paul Casey.

Donald, ranked 15 in the world, and the 13th-ranked Howell picked up seven birdies and an eagle to reach the turn in 27.

They grabbed a further birdie at the 10th but lost some momentum with four straight pars before adding three more birdies in the last four holes.

An eight-foot par putt from Donald on the 18th broke the magical 60 barrier.

"I really wanted to hole that one. It would have been disappointing not to shoot 59," said Donald.

"We thought 18 under was still on after the 10th."

Howell, who held off world number one Tiger Woods to win the Champions tournament in China, added: "I had a general feeling that things couldn't go better after last week.

"Then, starting off as strong as I did, you know it's not going to get much better than that and it was enjoyable while it lasted."

The Indian pair were delighted to finish the first day so high on the leaderboard.

"This will be big news back home. We love team games but it is normally through cricket. This will be huge for the game," said Atwal, whose team qualified via a late exemption.

"No one expects our team to do well or win. India has been in the World Cup before and not really done much.

"I don't think people know that we have a decent team.

"We came here with no expectations but we gained confidence by both getting into birdie positions at a lot of the holes.

"More than anything, though, we had fun and that was the key."

Interview: Luke Donald and David Howell


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