Gavin secures World Cup berth

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Gavin Green of Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Gavin Kyle Green has earned the last and final spot in the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf later this year after being announced as one of the first 28 players by tournament officials.

Contested at The Metropolitan Golf Club in the Melbourne Sandbelt from November 22 to 25, the 59th edition of the storied championship will see 56 players vie for the largest prize-money purse in Australian golf – with US$7 million on offer.

The 24-year-old Green squeezed into the final field after Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann elected not to commit to the World Cup of Golf. He was the second reserve from the Official World Golf Ranking after Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent.

“It’s amazing that I’ve qualified for the World Cup of Golf. I’ve always wanted to play in the event and to have the opportunity to represent Malaysia, I can’t wait to get to Melbourne and hope to give it my best shot,” said Green.

“I first took notice of the World Cup of Golf when Tiger (Woods) and Mark O’Meara won it in Malaysia back in 1999. I was like six years old then and had just started playing golf. And when the Molinari brothers (Francesco and Edoardo) won it in 2009, I kind of thought ‘hey, I want to try and do this too with my younger brother (Galven) some day.’

“Strangely, I’ve never been to Australia before, so it’s something that I’ll look forward to in November. It’s a big deal when you can travel to new places and I’ve heard the sandbelt courses in Melbourne are really good and they suit the long hitters.  I’ll be curious to see what it’s like when I get there,” added Green, who has until September 20 to choose his partner for the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf.

Green created history in 2017 after becoming the first Malaysian to lift the Asian Tour Order of Merit title, becoming the second youngest golfer after Noh Seung-yul to win the accolade. During the season, he won a maiden Asian Tour victory in Chinese Taipei and finished runner-up on two other occasions.

In recent weeks, the long-hitting Malaysian finished third in the Czech Masters and T12 at the European Masters and is currently ranked 173rd in the world.

In the last World Cup of Golf held at Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne two years ago, Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung teamed up to finish T22. Malaysia’s best finish was in 1994 when M.  Ramayah and the late P. Gunasegaran finished ninth in Puerto Rico.

The 72-hole stroke play team format will feature Four-ball (best ball) play in the first and third rounds and Foursomes (alternate shot) play in the second and final rounds. In 2016, Danes Søren Kjeldsen and Thorbjørn Olesen shot a final-round 66 in foursomes at Kingston Heath to win Denmark’s first World Cup of Golf title by four strokes over the United States, China and France.