The Swedish team of Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson produced a scintillating final round to win the Omega Mission Hills World Cup by three shots from the Spanish duo of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Larrazabal.
The Swedes were pre-tournament favourites, but they went into the last day trailing the Spaniards and the Australian pairing of Richard Green and Brendan Jones by four shots. Karlsson and Stenson were not to be denied however, and a fabulous 63 in the Sunday foursomes was sufficient to ensure the World Cup trophy headed to Sweden for the first time since Per-Ulrik Johansson and Anders Forsbrand were victorious in 1991.
Stenson and Karlsson made their move early in the final round with five birdies in a row on the front nine. The alternate-shot format is notoriously difficult to master, but the Swedes made it look simple as they added further birdies at the 11th and 12th. Stenson then chipped in from the back of the 14th green and the pair recorded one final birdie at the par-5 15th.
“I played the World Cup last year, and I definitely enjoy coming here. It’s great, this golf course sets up really well and is inviting to play.” Said Karlsson. “It means very much to win for the country. This has always been an event in Sweden that’s been big. I think it was a bit better, the quality of the players here this year, than last year. If you look on the trophy, there’s many impressive pairings on there. I hope we can look back on it in the future and say the same about us playing here.”
Spain put up a brave fight during the last round and they were still in with a chance coming up the 18th. They needed an eagle, but when Larrazabal drove into a bunker they could only grind out a bogey to secure second place.
“We were playing very well and I have a very nice partner,” said Jimenez. “We enjoyed all the week and I really had fun. We didn’t win the tournament, but apart from that, it was a very fine week.”
Australia fell away on Sunday, closing with a disappointing 76 to finish tied for third with Japan. England were the best of the home nations, the team of Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher finished sixth on -15. Defending champions Scotland never got it going and the duo of Colin Montgomerie and Alastair Forsyth ended the week in a tie for 9th on -7.
Omega Mission Hills World Cup
Mission Hills, China
Nov 27-30, purse $5,500,000, par 72
1 Sweden 65 67 66 63 261 $1,700,000
2 Spain 64 63 67 70 264 $900,000
T3 Australia 63 68 63 76 270 $429,000
T3 Japan 66 68 68 68 270 $429,000
5 Germany 62 69 68 73 272 $230,000
6 England 69 74 63 67 273 $200,000
T7 Thailand 69 73 64 68 274 $155,000
T7 South Africa 70 70 67 67 274 $155,000
9 USA 64 69 69 73 275 $125,000
T10 Philippines 67 72 65 72 276 $96,667
T10 France 68 75 62 72 276 $96,667
T10 Chile 67 76 66 67 276 $96,667
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