Odd couple Gareth Maybin and Michael Hoey have the chemistry to cause a World Cup explosion in China.

The unheralded Irish pair - ranked well outside the top 500 in the world - will tee it up in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup as complete outsiders.

But pal Stephen Browne believes the Challenge Tour pair have a special something that can bring glory to Ireland at Mission Hills.

Browne said: "They really are an odd couple because Gareth is so laid-back and Michael gets so uptight.

"But they can bring each other along in that way because when Gareth is too relaxed, Michael can get him focussed again.

"And when Michael is getting too tense, Gareth know just how to relax him."

Hoey and Maybin are surprise members of the Irish team this year after Padraig Harrington withdrawal meant Ireland had to qualify and rest of Ireland's tour stars refused to treable to Aruba for the qualifier.

Hoey and Maybin jumped at the chance and they are now guaranteed at least $25,000 each, even if Ireland finishes last in the 24 nation event.

Paired with Danes Soren and Anders Hansen in the opening fourballs, the former Ireland amateur stars are determined to give a good account of themselves.

And Maybin can't wait to get going in an event he never expected to play after returning from two years as a professional on the mini tours in America this summer.

Maybin said: "You could say in a way we're representing Northern Ireland at the World Cup

"But it's a great honour to be representing Ireland and we're both delighted to be going.

"Qualification in Aruba clashed with the Dunhill Links and that made it difficult for the likes of Darren Clarke or Graeme McDowell to go.

"It came to Michael and myself to go to Aruba for qualifying and we thought it was a great opportunity. And we played really well out there.

"Our games are kind of similar but when I didn't play well Michael stepped in and I was able to do the same when he hit a bad shot. We worked well together and we hope we can do the same again this week."

There is no pressure on Maybin or Hoey to do well this week, despite the absence of stars like Harrington or Tiger Woods.

Germany, who defend the title they won in Barbados last December, are represented by Rookie of the Year Martin Kaymer and four-time European Tour winner Alex Cejka.

However, there is a subtle difference this time, in that the original World Cup Trophy, known previously as the Canada Cup, will be the prize for the victors along with a cheque for €1 million per team.

Danes Soren and Anders Hansen won the Mercedes Benz and BMW PGA Championship respectively this year.

But the big favourites are England's Justin Rose and Ian Poulter, who have both won on their last starts.

Poulter took the Dunlop Phoenix title in Japan on Sunday while Rose won the Volvo Masters and the European Order of Merit.

Looking ahead to a possible Ryder Cup partnership with Rose, Poulter said: "It’s a great opportunity to play with Justin and it would certainly be nice to win the World Cup.

"It will be an exciting week and to pair up with Justin in what could, hopefully, be a pairing next September at The Ryder Cup as well. We will have a bit of fun out on the course at Mission Hills.

"We have been friends since the Challenge Tour. I bumped into him when I was first reserve at the French Open and he was on the putting green. We got chatting and then started rooming together on the Challenge Tour.

"We have been very good mates for eight years now. We are neighbours in Lake Nona and play quite a few practice rounds together when we are over there together. It’s going to be brilliant at Mission Hills and more than anything it will be great fun."

After taking the last two weeks off, Rose said: "I’m really looking forward to the World Cup. Ian and I go way back and to have the chance to represent my country with one of my good friends is going to be exciting.

"The friendship that we have will hopefully create the right atmosphere for us to play good golf – that’s what we are hoping for anyway."

Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge are reunited for Wales in a bid to repeat their 2005 victory.

Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren - beaten in a play-off by Germany last year – also resume their partnership while the United States are represented by Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum as they challenge for a title last won by Tiger Woods and David Duval in 2000.

Hong Kong Open winner Miguel Angel Jiménez partners José Manuel Lara, winner of the same title 12 months ago.

Lara was a late replacement for course designer Olazábal, who was forced to admit defeat in his latest battle with injury.

Jiménez and Olazábal had previously teamed up in the World Cup in 2000 at Buenos Aires where they finished seventh behind the United States.

The Mechanic Jiménez also came close to winning the title with Sergio Garcia in Seville in 2004.

Jimenez said: "We nearly won in 2004 in Sevilla with Sergio where we came second.

"We played very well that week but not quite well enough to lift the trophy which would have been great in front of the home crowds, but it wasn’t meant to be.

"But this year we will be trying our hardest again. I enjoy playing in China and have won in Shanghai and now twice in Hong Kong, so why not a win for Spain?"

Omega Mission Hills World Cup
Tee-times Rd 1

07:50 Pasi PURHONEN/Mikko ILONEN Finland, Gerald ROSALES/Antonio LASCUNA Philippines

08:05 Raphaël JACQUELIN/Grégory HAVRET France, Carlos FRANCO/Fabrizio ZANOTTI Paraguay

08:20 Stephen DODD/Bradley DREDGE Wales, Seung-ho LEE/Sung LEE Korea

08:35 Edoardo MOLINARI/Francesco MOLINARI Italy, Robert KARLSSON/Peter HANSON Sweden

08:50 Stephen SCAHILL/Richard LEE New Zealand, Miguel Angel JIMÉNEZ/José Manuel LARA Spain

09:05 Jorge BENEDETTI/Gustavo MENDOZA Colombia, Mike WEIR/Wes HEFFERNAN Canada

09:20 Colin MONTGOMERIE/Marc WARREN Scotland, Robert-Jan DERKSEN/Maarten LAFEBER Holland

09:35 Gareth MAYBIN/Michael HOEY Ireland, Søren HANSEN/Anders HANSEN Denmark

09:50 Gaurav GHEI/Jyoti RANDHAWA India, Retief GOOSEN/Trevor IMMELMAN South Africa

10:05 Nick O'HERN/Nathan GREEN Australia, Thongchai JAIDEE/Prayad MARKSAENG Thailand

10:20 Justin ROSE/Ian POULTER England, Claude GRENIER/Markus BRIER Austria

10:35 Ricardo GONZALEZ/Andres ROMERO Argentina, Miguel SUAREZ/Wilfredo MORALES Puerto Rico

10:50 Lian-wei ZHANG / Wen-chong LIANG China, Alex CEJKA / Martin KAYMER Germany

11:05 Hideto TANIHARA / Tetsuji HIRATSUKA Japan, Heath SLOCUM / Boo WEEKLEY USA