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Ross Fisher & Ian Poulter lead World Cup bid

Ross Fisher and Ian Poulter are determined to finish November in the same way they started it by firing England to victory at the 55th World Cup of Golf in southern China this week.

Fisher and Poulter, who won the World Matchplay and Singapore Open respectively to kick off the month, will take on 27 other nations in their bid to claim England’s third world title, and a first since 2004, at the $5.5 million tournament in Shenzhen.
“I think it is time that England won the World Cup again,” Poulter said in a statement.

“I think when you have four English players in the top 20 of the World Rankings it shows how good English golf is at the moment so it is about time we stepped up to the mark on the world stage. One thing is for sure, we will try our hardest.”

The two friends also represented their country last year but a poor start left them well off the pace as Swede’s Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson claimed the prize at the vast Mission Hills complex.

World number seven Stenson is the highest ranked player in the field but Karlsson has suffered plummeting fortunes since he lifted the John Jay Hopkins trophy as Europe’s number one last year.

The 40-year-old missed more than four months of the season with a career-threatening eye condition but second place after a playoff at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan last week should boost his confidence for the title defence.

The Swedes shot a final round 63 to beat early frontrunners Spain last year and the Spaniards will again be among the teams to beat with world number eight Sergio Garcia and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano flying their flag.

World number 10 Rory McIlroy, who ran Lee Westwood to the wire in the race for the European Order of Merit, makes his World Cup debut representing a united Ireland alongside fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell.

The United States have won the World Cup more times than any other nation but have drawn a blank since Tiger Woods and David Duval secured a 23rd title in 2000.

Nick Watney, who finished 12th on the 2009 U.S. PGA money list, teams up with John Merrick to try and end the longest title drought for the U.S. in the history of the event.

The Korean pairing of Yang Yong-eun and Charlie Wi look to have the best chance of the nine Asian teams vying to prevent the trophy leaving the continent.

Yang, Asia’s first major champion when he won the PGA Championship in August, is playing his first World Cup but keen to make an immediate impression.

“I am aware that Korea’s best record so far in the World Cup has been third place,” he said.

“When I claimed the PGA championship, I was honoured to be showered with messages of encouragement about how I boosted Korea’s national pride and so this … will serve as an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to the world how Koreans are hardworking and have the potential to become the world’s best.”

Thursday’s opening round will be played in a fourball format, while Friday will feature foursomes. The same pattern will be repeated for the last two rounds over the weekend.


November 24, 2009

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