Asian Tour Release, 24 November 2018:
Korea’s Byeonghun An and Siwoo Kim remained in the hunt for their country’s first ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf title after battling to a four-under-par 68 in the penultimate round’s fourball match on Saturday.
An and Kim fired an eagle and four birdies against two bogeys to trail by five shots in second place alongside Abraham Ancer and Roberto Diaz of Mexico (65) and Italy’s (66) Andrea Pavan and Renato Paratore.
It was Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry who pulled away from the chasing pack after signing for a commanding 63 and a three-day total of 19-under-par 197 at The Metropolitan Golf Club. They had held a share of the overnight two-shot lead with Korea.
Indian duo Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar, who started the round in tied-third place, conceded they failed to produce their A-games after posting a two-under-par 70. They slipped nine shots off the pace to tie in 11th position at the prestigious US$7 million event.
Despite struggling to keep their momentum going, Malaysia’s Gavin Green and Ben Leong held their heads up as they signed for a 72 to settle for tied-15th place on 208.
The 56-man field from 28 countries, including six Asian nations, is vying to hoist the famous trophy in the event, won previously by many legends of the games.
The tournament will switch back to foursomes format for the all-important final round on Sunday.
Did you know?
- Team Korea of Byeonghun An and Siwoo Kim fired an eagle and four birdies against two bogeys for a round of 68. An contributed the eagle on 16th after sinking an uphill putt from about 60 feet.
- An and Kim, who averaged 25 years old, is the youngest pair amongst the six two-man Asian teams in the 28-nation team competition. Byeonghun An is 27 years old while Siwoo Kim is 23.
- An, highest-ranked player from Korea, is a one-time winner on the European Tour while Kim has won twice on the PGA Tour. Kim is the first player from Asia to win twice on the PGA Tour before the age of 23.
- An is making his second appearance in the World Cup of Golf while Kim is playing for the first time in his career.
- Best results by a Korean team at the World Cup of Golf is fifth place in 1971 (Chang Sang Hahn / Seung Hak Kim) and 1982 (Chang Sang Hahn / Sang Ho Choi)
- Team India of Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar traded five birdies against three bogeys for a battling round of 70 in the fourball match on Saturday. Lahiri contributed three birdies while Bhullar made two for the team. Lahiri and Bhullar each dropped a shot on the third and 17th respectively.
- They hold a combined total of 16 victories on the Asian Tour, which includes three co-sanctioned wins on the European Tour.
- Lahiri, now a regular player on the PGA Tour, is a two-time International team member of the Presidents Cup. He is also the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion in 2015.
- Lahiri, 31, and Bhullar, 30, have represented India together in numerous team competitions since their amateur days. They featured in the Eisenhower Cup, Nomura Cup and Asian Games, delivering a team silver in 2006, before venturing almost at the same time into the play-for-pay ranks where they also represented Team Asia in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in 2013.
- India’s best finish of ninth place in the event was achieved by Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa in Portugal in 2005.
- Team Malaysia of Ben Leong and Gavin Green returned with a round of three birdies against an equal number of bogeys. They had carded a commendable 63 in the four-ball opening round on Thursday.
- Malaysia’s best finish was in 1994 when M. Ramayah and the late P. Gunasegaran emerged ninth in Puerto Rico while at the 2016 World Cup in Melbourne, Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung ended up joint 22nd.
- Leong won his first Asian Tour title in 2008 before suffering from a disc prolapse in 2012. He has shown signs of returning to his best form in the last few years. Leong, a two-time Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner, has claimed two top-10s on the Asian Tour so far this season.
- Green, who claimed his maiden Asian Tour victory in Chinese Taipei last year, became the first Malaysian to lift the Asian Tour Order of Merit trophy in 2017.
- Green played his way onto the main Tour from the ADT, where he has won on three occasions. He finished second on the 2016 ADT Order of Merit to earn his Asian Tour card for 2017.
Anirban Lahiri (Ind)
I think we got off to a bad start and then we recovered quite well. I think we made like four birdies in five holes on the front nine to kind of get some momentum. And then just around the turn I think we hit a couple of very good shots on the 11th hole but both of us caught bad breaks there and made bogey.
I think after that, given that today was a day to go low, I think it was a case of also trying a little hard and, you know, sometimes when you push hard, it pushes back. I hit a lot of bad shots and I kind of left him hanging a little bit and that adds pressure. The flow that needs to be there wasn’t there, but it’s over now so we’ve got to focus on tomorrow.
It’s going to be important tomorrow to, you know, stay focused right through the round. I think there were times on the course that both of us lost focus a little bit, so tomorrow’s going to be a good opportunity because it’s going to be a tougher format. If we go out there and play our best, we can really pick up some ground.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind)
It was tough. I think we both didn’t play very well like we did yesterday and the day before. There were a lot of, you know, weak links today. I guess they were quite a few holes where we both struggled at the same time and I think in this format one needs to be in play.
But otherwise, I mean, we were very comfortable, we were riding high in confidence, but it was just like one of those days where we tried hard but nothing went inside the hole.
I think yesterday we guys were very comfortable with our game plan and we guys played really solid and the goal is just to repeat what we did and, you know, just work on a few other aspects. Obviously once we finish lunch, we’ll have all will have a chat and make a solid plan for tomorrow.
It’s a different format from what we played back in 2013 and, you know, this kind of format, I think everybody’s enjoying it. Obviously as a team, you know, we enjoy more of this format than what we played in 2013.
It’s also been five years. We’re both now professionals for around 10 years, so we come in with a lot more experience. I think that also makes a big difference. We’ve played together on many teams before, including the EurAsia Cup two times. I think that’s definitely been an added advantage coming into this week.