• Grace, Schwartzel team up for World Cup of Golf

    Schwartzel and Grace
    The SA pair have plenty of chemistry

    Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel will join forces to represent South Africa at the 2018 ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf in Melbourne, Australia.

    Grace, who selected Presidents Cup teammate Schwartzel, will be making his second start in the competition that sees a number of top players – including major championship winners and leading players from previous Presidents and Ryder Cups – from around the world attracted to the unique team format.

    The South Africans start the event ranked fifth with Australian duo Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith, making his first start for his country, starting as favourites.

    England’s Ian Poulter was among the notables selected and will make his sixth appearance in the World Cup competition after being tabbed by fellow countryman Tyrrell Hatton.

    Two-time PGA TOUR winner Kyle Stanley and seven-time PGA TOUR champion and member of the victorious 2011 World Cup of Golf team Matt Kuchar will provide strong competition for one of golf’s oldest team trophies. Kuchar will add a plethora of team experience to the field in Melbourne, having represented the United States in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup four times apiece, as well as two World Cup of Golf appearances. At the 2018 Ryder Cup, Kuchar will look to aid in his team’s success as a vice captain to Jim Furyk.

    Following a four-stroke triumph at Kingston Heath in the 2016 ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf, the winning duo from Denmark will return to Melbourne to defend their title, with Thorbjørn Olesen selecting 2016 partner Soren Kjeldsen. The victory was Denmark’s first win in the World Cup of Golf, topping their previous best finish – a runner up in 2001 by Thomas Bjørn and Soren Hansen. With the win, a European country collected its seventh victory in the last nine editions of the World Cup of Golf.

    Due to a late withdrawal by Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo, a replacement country and players will be announced in the coming days.

    Among the others set to compete at The Metropolitan Golf Club include 2017 PLAYERS Champion Si Woo Kim, who was selected by Byeong Hun An to round out Team Korea. The 23-year-old is making his World Cup of Golf debut after first representing Korea in the 2017 Presidents Cup. Between the duo, they have won the flagship event on the PGA TOUR and European Tour, with An capturing the 2015 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth followed up by Kim’s PLAYERS victory two years later.

    Leishman and Grace are among eight players who have played on past International Teams at the Presidents Cup. Kim, Schwartzel, India’s Anirban Lahiri, New Zealand’s Danny Lee, Canada’s Adam Hadwin and Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas round out that list.

    Having finished T2 in the 2016 ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf, the team of Haotong Li and Ashun Wu are set to return to Melbourne with their sights set on capturing China’s first-ever World Cup of Golf title. Wu is coming off his third career European Tour victory at last week’s KLM Open. Wu and Li also represented China in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

    Other notables in the field include two-time major champion and former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer as well as World Golf Championships winner Shane Lowry who will be joined by Maximilian Kieffer and Paul Dunne as their respective partners.

    The 2018 ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf will be contested at The Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne from 21-25 November, 2018. The 59th staging of the event will see the 56-player field vie for the largest prize-money purse in Australian golf, with $US7-million on offer.

    Known for his clutch play and fiery personality in the Ryder Cup, Poulter will make his sixth appearance on the European team next week in advance of the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf. On the PGA TOUR, the 42-year-old has had one of his best seasons to date, winning his first stroke-play TOUR event at the Houston Open and adding three other top-10 results, including a T5 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and a T10 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

    ‘I’m obviously delighted to accept Tyrrell’s invitation to partner him at the World Cup and to represent England,’ Poulter said. ‘Anyone who knows me is well aware of how much I love team competition and representing my continent and my country. I think we will make a good team. We both play aggressive golf and try and make birdies which is something you need to do in any team event.’

    It will be Poulter’s first appearance in the World Cup of Golf since 2011, where he and Justin Rose finished two shots behind the United States team of Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland. Poulter will look to steer England toward its third World Cup of Golf title and first since 2004 when Paul Casey and Luke Donald teamed up to win in Spain.

    ‘It will be great to go back to Australia too. I love playing down there – Melbourne has some of the best golf courses in the world,’ he added. ‘The Aussies are mad for their sport, too. There’s something very special for any England team to win in Australia no matter what the sport is so that will be another little incentive for us as well.’

    Currently, Poulter is joined by a past Ryder Cup teammate in former world No. 1 and two-time major champion Kaymer, who has represented the European Team on four occasions and will make his fifth appearance representing Germany in the World Cup of Golf.

    Denmark’s Olesen is set to make his first Ryder Cup start having qualified for fellow Dane and captain Thomas Bjorn’s team.

    ISPA HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf 

    Confirmed teams as of 20 September 2018 

      Country  Top Player  Partner 
    1. Australia Marc Leishman Cameron Smith 
    2. England Tyrrell Hatton  Ian Poulter
    3. United States Kyle Stanley  Matt Kuchar
    4. Thailand Kiradech Aphibarnrat Prom Meesawat 
    5. South Africa Branden Grace Charl Schwartzel
    6. Denmark Thorbjorn Olesen Soren Kjeldsen
    7. Japan Satoshi Kodaira  Hideto Tanihara
    8. Korea Byeong Hun An Si Woo Kim 
    9. China Haotong Li Ashun Wu
    10. Canada Adam Hadwin Nick Taylor 
    11. Scotland Russell Knox Martin Laird
    12. Belgium Thomas Pieters Thomas Detry 
    13. Sweden Alexander Bjork  Joakim Lagergren 
    14. New Zealand Ryan Fox Danny Lee
    15. Venezuela Jhonattan Vegas Joseph Naffah 
    16. Spain Adrian Otaegui  Jorge Campillo 
    17. Ireland Shane Lowry Paul Dunne 
    18. France Alexander Levy  Michael Lorenzo-Vera 
    19. Austria Bernd Wiesberger Matthias Schwab 
    20. India Shubhankar Sharma  Anirban Lahiri
    21. Netherlands Joost Luiten Daan Hizing 
    22. Finland Mikko Korhonen Mikko Ilonen
    23. Mexico Abraham Ancer  Roberto Diaz 

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