Melbourne, Australia: Belgium held off a late challenge from hosts Australia to win the US$7 million ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf for the first time.
Thomas Detry and Thomas Pieters brought a five-shot advantage into the final foursomes at The Metropolitan Golf Club but Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith cut that to just two as the huge crowds on the Sandbelt began to get excited about a second Australian win in five years.
The Belgians, however, held their nerve over the final three holes, to sign for a 68 and finish the week at 23-under, three shots ahead of Australia and Mexican pair Abraham Ancer and Roberto Diaz. Defending champions Søren Kjeldsen and Thorbjørn Olesen of Denmark closed with a 65 to finish at 17-under.
Korea (An Byeong-hun and Kim Si-woo) emerged as the best-placed Asian team in tied-sixth while India’s Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar shared 10th place.
China (Li Haotong and Wu Ashun) closed with a 67 to take 13th place on 277 while Thailand (Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Prom Meesawat) finished a further shot back in joint-14th.
Malaysia (Ben Leong and Gavin Green) slipped to 22nd place while Japan (Hideto Tanihara and Satoshi Kodaira) ended 23rd.
It was the eighth time in the last 10 stagings that the World Cup has been won by European Tour members.
“It feels amazing, World Champions,” said Detry. “It was always nice to have that big brother talking to you and calming you down. It’s like you’re playing a game against your buddy at home, I learned a lot thanks to him.
“It’s kind of a dream come true. There’s nothing like representing your country on the other side of the world. It’s just amazing.”
Pieters added: “I’m super proud of him (Detry). That drive on 18 was unbelievable. I could see he was a bit nervous, I was nervous as well. To finish with a birdie tops it off. These putts on the back nine aren’t easy, I know, and he made plenty of them.
“I told my mum and dad it’s been a long time since I won and this feels as good as an individual title.”