Eighteen nations tee off today in the quest for the three remaining berths at golf’s lucrative World Cup in China, with Malaysia, Italy and Singapore leading the hunt.
The four-day Fortis International Challenge gets underway at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club with the lure of a share in the US$5.5 million on offer at the World Cup in November at stake.
Malaysia are looking to make their first World Cup in seven years with Danny Chia and Iain Steel shouldering the responsibility.
“I’ve played with Iain twice previously and we know each other’s games well. We accept each other’s faults and that is the only way to play well together. You can’t say sorry in this format, you just go out and play,” Chia said.
Steel hopes it will be third time lucky partnering Chia in the Fortis International Challenge.
“I’ve done this four years now, I’m getting frustrated at not qualifying,” said Steel, who partnered Airil Rizman last year.
Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing, who partners Mardan Mamat, is looking for a double dose of joy by winning his fourth World Cup appearance on a week his first child, a son, was born on Monday.
“Hopefully I can go back on Sunday with a World Cup ticket in hand which will make it a memorable week,” said Lam, who has named his son Tian Lei.
“There is a lot of pressure but we know how to carry each other. It seems like every time I partner him, I always play better,” he said.
The Italian brothers of Francesco and Edoardo Molinari are strongly tipped to challenge for one of the three tickets, especially with the former fresh from a runner-up finish on the European Tour at the weekend.
“We are ready to play. Francesco is a little tired as he only got here Wednesday morning. We know each other’s game well and we are looking forward to it,” said Edoardo, a former US Amateur Championship winner.
The teams will play fourball better ball in the first and third rounds and foursomes (alternate shot) in the second and final rounds.
Bangladesh (Mohamad Siddiqur Rahman, Mohamad Jibon Ali), Brunei (Pengiran Hassanal, Faiz Damit) Ghana (Emos Korblah, Victor Bravemensah), Kenya (Dismas Indiza, Anil Shah), South Korea (Bae Sang-Moon, Kim Hyung-Tae), Nigeria (Oyebanji Gboyega, Odoh Andrew Oche), Singapore (Mardan Mamat, Lam Chih Bing), Sri Lanka (Anura Rohana, Lalith Kumara), Pakistan (Muhammad Shabbir, Muhammad Munir), Myanmar (Soe Kyaw Naing, Zaw Zaw Latt), Hong Kong (Derek Fung, David Freeman), Nepal (Deepak Thapa Magar, Deepak Neupane), Italy (Francesco Molinari, Edoardo Molinari), Indonesia (Junaedi Ibrahim, Sarmilih, Malaysia (Iain Steel, Danny Chia), Philippines (Angelo Que, Mars Pucay), Uganda (Deo Akope, Godfrey Mande), Swaziland (Robbie Wesselo, Meshak Zwane).