Denmark hold off chasing pack to win the World Cup of Golf for first time
DENMARK produced a brilliant back nine to hold off the challenge of China, France, the United States and Sweden and win the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf for the first time.
Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen came into the closing fourballs as hot favourites after a 60 in the same format on Friday had helped them establish a four-shot lead. They struggled to find their rhythm early, however, and after turning in level par, a birdie from China's Li Haotong on the 10th cut the lead to one shot before Kjeldsen hit straight back from 12 feet.
That seemed to spark the Danes to life and they claimed six birdies in five holes, although that did not completely release the pressure, with China adding a further three birdies, and the United States team of Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker making four on the back nine.
France - represented by Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque - had turned in 31 and added five birdies on the way in, while Sweden's Alex Noren and David Lingmerth went one better coming home in 31 for a brilliant 62.
But they could not keep pace with the Danes, Olesen birdieing the last to get his team to 20 under with a 66 and earn a four-shot victory over China, France and the United States, with Sweden a further shot back.
The victory for Kjeldsen came at the sixth time of asking with Olesen playing in his third World Cup as Denmark beat their previous best finish of second in 2001: "It's been an absolutely incredible week," Kjeldsen told a press conference.
"I've enjoyed it so much. I've enjoyed the camaraderie with Thorbjorn. I've been so impressed by his game, his attitude, and I think we've had a great time and that reflects in the result. I think the psychology has been really interesting for me because when you play your own game, it's different, but when you've got a guy like this on the back nine on Sunday, it's like you feel you want to die for the guy. It's different and that's been really interesting to feel this."
Olesen added: "It was tough, but me and Soren have been great this week with just our mental strength. We've been very, very good keeping calm and playing our own game and we've both been playing well. So I wasn't too nervous on that back nine. I felt like we've got to make some birdies at some point. They came at the right time."
Ireland's Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell fired a closing 66 to finish at 11 under, two shots clear of England's Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan, who finished with a 65. Scotland's Russell Knox and Duncan Stewart were at six under after a final-round 67.