September 1, 2009
PAKISTAN MAKES HISTORY, SINGAPORE WINS OMEGA MISSION HILLS WORLD CUP ASIAN QUALIFIER
Muhammad Shabbir and Muhammad Munir etched their names in the history books when they guided Pakistan to their first Omega Mission Hills World Cup after finishing in the top-three at the Asian Qualifier on Saturday.
The unheralded Pakistani duo shot a superb three-under-par 68 in the final round foursomes at Seri Selangor Golf Club to finish third behind winners Singapore, represented by Lam Chih Bing and Mardan Mamat, and the Philippines pair of Mars Pucay and Angelo Que.
Lam and Mardan secured their fourth World Cup appearance together after claiming a one-stroke victory following a closing 72 for a four-day total of 15-under-par 269 while Que and Pucay also signed off with a 72 to finish one back.
A World Cup appearance continues to elude the Malaysian pair of Iain Steel and Danny Chia as they ended fourth after a battling 71 while Myanmar finished a further three strokes behind following a 74.
“Pakistan have played in the cricket World Cup, hockey World Cup and squash World Cup but never before in our history that we’ve been in golf’s World Cup. We showed that we are in there for the first time and hopefully we will be able to perform well in China,” said a delighted Munir, who plays on the Asian Tour.
“I don’t know how to describe how we feel right now. I’m sure everyone in Pakistan will be very happy,” he added.
Pakistan mixed their scorecard with four birdies against two bogeys before a nailing a crucial final birdie on the 18th hole to seal an historic debut against the world’s best in China later in November.
Shabbir, who recently recovered from a long-term back injury, relied on Munir’s experience and said his partner steered them to third place. “I couldn’t read the greens this week and I told Munnir that I was out of form. But he told me that he had confidence in me and he guided me along. That’s why we made the cut.”
Lam and Mardan last qualified for the World Cup in 2006 at Seri Selangor and they were delighted to win again at the par-71 course.
“Two years now that we have played here and twice we’ve won it. Maybe this course likes us or we like the course. We kept ourselves very relaxed and that was the key. We managed to complete our mission and get ourselves into the top-three,” said Mardan, a double Asian Tour winner.
Lam, winner of last year’s Volvo Masters of Asia, said: “All we did was to focus on our own game. Starting out with a big gap over third place this morning, we were comfortable out there. The World Cup is such an enjoyable experience and I really missed playing in it the last couple of years.”
Pucay and Que also qualified for their second straight World Cup appearance after a solid week. They recovered from an early bogey with an eagle on the sixth hole before dropping shots again with double bogeys on the 10th and 18th holes to finish with a four-day total of 270. Que was pleased they achieved their goal.
“It didn’t matter if we finished first, second or third, it only mattered if we qualified for the World Cup. It was a relaxing feeling after nine holes,” said Que, who finished top-10 at the World Cup with Pucay last year.
Pucay is relishing the opportunity to better their top-10 finish at Mission Hills. “There was no pressure for us. We just wanted to hit it on the fairway on every hole. And that’s what we managed to achieve and we are happy and excited making it into the World Cup again.”
Malaysia’s Chia and Steel, chasing Malaysia’s first World Cup appearance in eight years, fought gamely but a bogey on the 17th hole dashed their hopes. Steel, playing in his fifth qualifier, praised Pakistan for their courageous effort.
“Pakistan played well. They shot three under and in this format it is very good. I had a feeling after the 14th hole that we needed to make some birdies and we were pressing but unfortunately, we didn’t get it done,” said Steel.
The Omega Mission Hills World Cup Asian Qualifier is supported by One World Hotel, Srixon and 100Plus.
Final round scores
269 – Singapore (LAM Chih Bing, Mardan MAMAT) 64-71-62-72
270 – Philippines (Mars PUCAY, Angelo QUE) 60-72-66-72
274 – Pakistan (Muhammad SHABBIR, Muhammad MUNIR) 68-73-65-68
(Top three teams qualify for Omega Mission Hills World Cup)
276 – Malaysia (Danny CHIA, Iain STEEL) 66-74-65-71
279 – Myanmar (Zaw MOE, Soe Kyaw NAING) 67-73-65-74
284 – Hong Kong (David FREEMAN, WONG Woon Man) 66-72-67-79
286 – Bangladesh (Milon AHMED, Siddikur RAHMAN) 69-74-69-74
293 – Indonesia (Maan NASIM, SARMILIH) 69-77-72-75
296 – Sri Lanka (Lalith KUMARA, Anura ROHANA) 70-77-68-81
296 – Nigeria Christian UTUBOR, Edet UMOH) 70-80-69-77
308 – Ghana (Theophilus KODJO, Emos KORBLAH) 74-81-75-78
309 – Brunei (Faiz DAMIT, Pengiran HASSANAL) 74-77-77-81
332 – Mauritius (Rajesh MOHUN, Jocelyn SAVRIMOOTOO) 77-89-74-92
DQ – NEPAL (Ramesh NAGARKOTI, Pashupati SHARMA) 82-84-75