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Myanmar win Nations Cup by five shots

Myanmar’s Kyi Hla Han and Aung Win ruled supreme in the Nations Cup, cruising to a five-shot victory at Laguna National Golf and Country Club today.

The win earned Myanmar a place in the World Golf Championships-World Cup in Kiawah Island, United States in November where they will be joined by China and India, who finished tied second, and Hong Kong after a nerve-jangling finish.

“We knew we had a good cushion and I was keen to win the trophy after coming close twice (in 1999 and 2002). Winning by five is the icing on the cake,” said 42-year-old Han, who will play in his fourth WGC-World Cup.

Win was thrilled to earn the chance to rub shoulders with world-class names after Myanmar finished the tournament at 11-under-par 277 after combining for a 73 in the foursomes.

“When Soe (Kyaw Naing) qualified last year with Kyi Hla, he talked a lot about the experience of playing with Vijay Singh in the practice round and the likes of Phil Mickelson and David Toms at the WGC-World Cup.

“When I got here this week, I was really fired up and I will cherish the opportunity to play in the event,” said Win.

Myanmar finished well clear of India’s Digvijay Singh and Gaurav Ghei and Chinese duo Liang Wen-chong and Zheng Wen-gen, who shared the runner-up position on 282. India closed with a 71 while China stumbled to a 76.

Derek Fung and James Stewart sensationally steered Hong Kong into the WGC-World Cup with the day’s best of 70 and pipped Thailand and Sri Lanka to the last ticket by one shot.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Stewart. “Going into the day, we were a couple shots back from fourth place but in alternate shot format, the teams would feel the pressure. We didn’t start well and didn’t make any putts. Derek then made a good one on four and I made some birdie putts on seven and eight to get going. It’s great that I’m going to my first World Cup.”

Fung was proud of the team’s achievement. “It’s an accomplishment for us. It was tough out there and the pressure was on for us to get a good start. We simply hung on,” said Fung, who played in the 1996 WGC-World Cup.

India celebrated another momentous week following Jyoti Randhawa’s triumph on the Japan Tour last weekend as Singh and Ghei secured the nation’s first WGC-World Cup appearance since 1997.

Singh hailed his partner, who hit form at the right moment. “Gaurav struggled a bit on the first two days but he finally found his form and not a better moment than this. He was especially very good with the long irons and he set me up perfect for birdies. I fumbled on 13 and 14 but he took us home,” said Singh.

“Fantastic!” said Ghei. “I’m very happy. I played so badly for the first three days and I was feeling sorry for Digvijay. It was a perfect team effort. I played at Kiawah Island in the 1997 WGC-World Cup and I’m looking forward to it. I’m really proud to have qualified both times.”

Jamnian Chitprasong and Pornsakon Tipsanit secured first reserve status for Thailand after edging Sri Lankan duo Anura Rohana and Nandasena Perera in a playoff. But the Thais will rue their misfortunes on the 13th where they suffered a double bogey and another bogey on 17 following a three-putt. “We were unlucky,” said Jamnian. “Pornsakon left his 35-foot birdie attempt just short on the last to force a playoff.”

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