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29 November 2009

A nail-biting finish to the 2009 OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup


Italy won the Omega Mission Hills World Cup by one shot from Ireland and Sweden as brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari carded a four under par 68 in the final round foursomes.

Younger brother Francesco crucially holed three consecutive birdie putts on the back nine before European Challenge Tour Number One Edoardo tapped home at the last to follow up last week’s win in Japan as Italy won a first World Cup at 29 under par.


Irish duo Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell had stretched their overnight lead to three shots on the front nine, but failed to further advance their score on the way home and a final round two under 70 was not enough to secure what would have been a wire-to-wire victory.


Sweden produced a gallant title defence as World Number Seven Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson, who was beaten in a play-off by Edoardo last week in Japan, carded a final round three under par 69.

England finished fourth at 26 under par as an impressive b

ogey-free eight under 64 came just too late for Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher.

Hiroyuki Fujita and Ryuji Imada claimed fifth for Japan a further four shots back after a 69 with Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby earning sixth for Australia.


South Africa, Wales, Y E Yang’s Korea, Martin Kaymer’s Germany and USA, who shot a brilliant bogey-free final round ten under par 62, rounded out the top ten at 20 under par.


Francesco, who claimed seven top ten finishes this season to finish 14th on The Race to Dubai, was delighted with the manner of Italy’s victory.

“It’s been a tough day and we have been playing against some of the best golfers in the world. It was really tough until the last, but it feels even better when it is like that,” he said.

“It’s really great for Italy. I think we deserved it as we attacked from the first day with every putt and every shot and we tried to make as many birdies as possible.

“I was lucky to hole two big putts on 12 and 13 which were probably the key moment and we just had to hang in there and hope for the best.”


On a glorious final day at Mission Hills Golf Club, Ireland had temporarily stretched their lead to three towards the end of the back nine following four consecutive birdies, but after a second bogey of the day at eight, McIlroy and McDowell held a two shot lead over Sweden and Italy at the turn.


Sweden, playing in the group ahead of Ireland and Italy, then trimmed the lead to one before McIlroy missed a two foot par putt at the tenth as Ireland suddenly slipped into a three-way tie for the lead.


And after moving alongside Ireland and Sweden with a birdie at the 11th, Francesco holed a mammoth 30 foot putt at the 12th to push Italy into a one shot lead.


The advantage was soon stretched to two with five to play as younger brother Francesco added a third consecutive birdie a hole later and McDowell missed an eight foot birdie putt for Ireland.


Sweden ended a run of the straight pars with a fifth birdie of the day at the 15th to trim Italy’s lead to one before Ireland’s first gain of the back nine arrived at the 15th to join Sweden at 28 under and one adrift with Italy unable take advantage of the lucrative signature hole.


And with Sweden unable to make any gains over their last three holes as Stenson agonisingly saw a long birdie putt at the last roll around the cup, Italy headed up the 18th with a one shot lead as McIlroy held his nerve to convert a six foot par putt at the 17th.


But with Ireland safely on the green at the last, Edoardo pushed his approach into one of the greenside bunkers which are so prominent around the Olazábal course, only for Francesco to get him out of trouble by chipping out to within three feet.


And after McDowell agonisingly left a birdie putt inches short which would have earned a play-off, Edoardo held his nerve to seal a memorable win.