Ireland slip nine back at World Cup
 Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen. Picture: Getty Images

Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen. Picture: Getty Images

Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry could manage only a three under 69 and trail Denmark by nine strokes at halfway in tbe ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Melbourne.

Søren Kjeldsen and Thorbjørn Olesen combined for a sensational 60 to fire Denmark to the top of the leaderboard on day two at Kingston Heath as McDowell and Lowry opened with a bogey and while they birdied the fifth and eighth and then made back-to-back birdies at the 10th and 11th, they ran out of inspiration down the stretch and now share 16th.

Just six teams fired under par in the first-round foursomes and despite increased winds at Kingston Heath Golf Club, all 28 teams managed that feat in the fourballs.

The Danes turned a three shot first round deficit into a three shot second round lead thanks to two eagles and eight birdies in a brilliant bogey-free effort

That moved them to 12 under par as they went in search of a maiden World Cup title, with second-placed China also looking to lift the trophy for the first time.

Wu Ashun and Li Haotong have both won on the European Tour this season, and the duo are in a strong position to finish their campaigns in fine style after a second round 65.

Overnight leaders Rafa Cabrera Bello and Jon Rahm of Spain were then on eight under as European Tour Members continued to dominate the upper echelons of the leaderboard, with Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan of England, Italian pair Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero, Frenchmen Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque, and Americans Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker a further shot back

Thorbjørn Olesen

“To be honest, I was thinking a little bit about that 59 with the last two holes to go, but 60 was still a great score. Søren got it going by holing his second shot on the third, and then I chipped in for eagle also. So combined, we were very good.
“I felt like yesterday we did a great job in the foursomes. It’s a tricky course, especially when it blows this much. We did well yesterday and that’s what we have to do again tomorrow.”

Soren Kjeldsen

“I was just trying to play solid. Thorbjørn was playing exceptional so I thought if I get it in play and get it on the green, I could let him do all the fireworks and it worked pretty well.
"In terms of temperament, I don’t think we’re that different. But I think game-wise we’re very different. Thorbjørn’s very flashy, he hits it very far from the tee and overall has got an amazing game; whereas I’m more like a train, I arrive on time but without too much of the flashy stuff.”

Li Haotong

"When I started playing golf, I didn’t think I could get into the World Cup one day, so it’s kind of like a dream come true. So it’s very, very proud for me to be here. Everybody back home in China will be very focus on the World Cup this week, so it’s great we are playing so well."

Wu Ashun

"We are very good friends because I know him very well, and we practice in the same golf course. So we know each other very well, and we played the Olympics together so I think we are the best partners for one another.”

Rafa Cabrera Bello

“I think today’s round wasn’t a great one, but it wasn’t a bad one either. It’s been decent for a day, but it wasn’t our best day. I felt that maybe we were a bit unlucky with the fact that we both played great on the same holes, and played bad on the same holes as well. So it was almost like we were just playing the one ball.”

Second Round Scores

1 Søren KJELDSEN / Thorbjørn OLESEN DEN 72 60 132 -12

2 WU Ashun / LI Haotong CHN 70 65 135 -9

3 Rafa CABRERA BELLO / Jon RAHM ESP 69 67 136 -8

4 Victor DUBUISSON / Romain LANGASQUE FRA 70 67 137 -7
Rickie FOWLER / Jimmy WALKER USA 70 67 137 -7
Francesco MOLINARI / Matteo MANASSERO ITA 71 66 137 -7
Chris WOOD / Andy SULLIVAN ENG 71 66 137 -7

8 Alex NOREN / David LINGMERTH SWE 72 66 138 -6
Hideki MATSUYAMA / Ryo ISHIKAWA JPN 73 65 138 -6

10 C.T. Pan / CHAN Shih-chang TPE 74 65 139 -5
Thongchai JAIDEE / Kiradech APHIBARNRAT THA 73 66 139 -5
Danny LEE / Ryan FOX NZL 75 64 139 -5
Joost LUITEN / Darius VAN DRIEL NED 75 64 139 -5

14 Bradley DREDGE / Stuart MANLEY WAL 74 66 140 -4
S.S.P CHAWRASIA / CHIKKARANGAPPA S IND 74 66 140 -4

16 Shane LOWRY / Graeme MCDOWELL IRL 72 69 141 -3
Bernd WIESBERGER / Martin WIEGELE AUT 73 68 141 -3

18 Jhonattan VEGAS / Julio VEGAS VEN 74 68 142 -2
Ricardo GOUVEIA / José-Filipe LIMA POR 74 68 142 -2
Jaco VAN ZYL / George COETZEE RSA 76 66 142 -2
Thomas PIETERS / Nicolas COLSAERTS BEL 73 69 142 -2
Adam SCOTT / Marc LEISHMAN AUS 74 68 142 -2
23 Byeong Hun AN / K.T. KIM KOR 74 69 143 -1
Russell KNOX / Duncan STEWART SCO 78 65 143 -1
David HEARN / Adam HADWIN CAN 75 68 143 -1

26 Miguel TABUENA / Angelo QUE PHI 77 67 144 0

27 Alex CEJKA / Stephan JAEGER GER 74 71 145 1
Danny CHIA / Nicholas FUNG MAS 77 68 145 1