Graeme McDowell wants more team events after he rallied Shane Lowry with a fourball 66 to leave Ireland tied for ninth behind first time winners Denmark in the $8m ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf.
Søren Kjeldsen and Thorbjørn Olesen claimed a thrilling four-shot victory at Kingston Heath Golf Club, building on a stunning round of 60 in the fourballs on Friday to take a four-shot lead into a final day which was played in the same format.
They did not have it all their own way, however, and the lead was cut to one shot on the back nine as the United States and China both kept applying pressure, whilst France and Sweden made late surges.
But a run of five birdies in six holes from the tenth reasserted the Danes’ dominance, and Kjeldsen and Olesen ultimately ran out comfortable victors after finishing on 20 under par courtesy of a closing round of 66.
"Today on the back nine I felt like I would die for my partner. I’ve never experienced that before,” said Olesen. who added another $1,280,000 to his bank balance having claimed €1,065,388 for winning the Turkish Airlines Open earlier this month.
Taking to twitter, McDowell pointed to Olesen’s remark and wrote: “Why golf simply needs more team golf. It's the best. Well done to the Danes. Great work.”
The IGF is considering a team format for the 2020 OIympic Games which is why while next April’s Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana in New Orleans on the PGA Tour will be a team event with two rounds each of foursome and fourball competition.
World No. 1 Jason Day will play there with Rickie Fowler, and 2015 Zurich Classic of New Orleans champion Justin Rose will join Henrik Stenson, the Olympic gold and silver medalists, respectively.
Rookie Seamus Power even sent out a tweet offering his services to Rory McIlroy.
McDowell and Lowry closed with a six under 66 to share ninth place with Australians Adam Scott and Marc Leishman (65) on 11 under par, nine shots behind the winners.
“Amazing week in Melbourne with Shane Lowry at @WorldCupGolf,” McDowell tweeted with a picture of the Irish team down pints of Guinness. "Putters were cold but @guinness is great!! #slainte”
The French pair of Victor Dubuisson and Romian Langasque shared second place alongside China – represented by Wu Ashun and Li Haotong – and the United States duo of Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker.
Alex Noren and David Lingmerth combined for a brilliant closing 62 to finish shots five back for Sweden.
The win completes excellent seasons for Kjeldsen and Olesen, with both finishing in the top 20 of the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and the latter extending his streak of winning seasons on the European Tour to three with victory at the Turkish Airlines Open.
Denmark’s previous best finish at the World Cup of Golf had been in 2001, when Thomas Bjørn and Soren Hansen finished in a tie for second after losing in a play-off, and for Kjeldsen it was a first victory in his sixth outing, while Olesen was making his third appearance.
“To win this beautiful trophy is amazing, and I think what’s so special about it is that we don’t get to lift a trophy with another player very often. So to experience that team feeling makes it even more special than an individual event. We have both had good years and we sort finish them off like this, so obviously that builds the confidence hugely and is an incredible end to the season.”
“I had the feeling every time on the green that I really wanted to hole the putt, not just for me but for my partner too. Then all of a sudden on the back nine, they just started rolling in. It was not just for me, it was for Soren and me and our caddies and our country. That’s very special. When you hole a putt and you can fist pump with your partner and your caddies, it makes it a lot more fun. It was a real four man team this week. I thought both of our caddies did a tremendous job this week keeping us calm, and allowing us to play our game.”
“We almost touched the trophy. But we played very well this week and also very well today. My partner was very exciting today. We made eight birdies today and the only bogey was when we missed a short putt. So it was a good score and we have to be very happy with the week overall.”
“We wanted to get off to a quick start and we knew we wanted to go out and play aggressively. We hit the shots, just didn’t get anything to go in early. So I felt like from tee to green, we didn’t really miss many shots. It’s always easier if you hit it a little bit closer, but really we just didn’t get the putts to go in early enough.”
“It was a great day. I think we couldn’t really do any better. To shoot nine under was a great score, because the pin positions were very difficult. Romain started the round really well, he made some very important putts on the first seven holes, which are very difficult. Then I made a good birdie on eight and we were four under. So I thought we had a good chance, but in the end we were a little bit short.”
Fourth Round Scores
1 Søren KJELDSEN / Thorbjørn OLESEN Denmark 72 60 70 66 268 -20 ($2,560,000 / $1,280,000 each)
2 WU Ashun / LI Haotong China 70 65 72 65 272 -16
Victor DUBUISSON / Romain LANGASQUE France 70 67 72 63 272 -16
Rickie FOWLER / Jimmy WALKER USA 70 67 69 66 272 -16
5 Alex NOREN / David LINGMERTH Sweden 72 66 73 62 273 -15
6 Francesco MOLINARI / Matteo MANASSERO Italy 71 66 73 64 274 -14
Hideki MATSUYAMA / Ryo ISHIKAWA Japan 73 65 71 65 274 -14
8 Rafa CABRERA BELLO / Jon RAHM Spain 69 67 73 66 275 -13
9 Shane LOWRY / Graeme MCDOWELL Ireland 72 69 70 66 277 -11 ($142,00 / $71,000 each)
Adam SCOTT / Marc LEISHMAN Australia 74 68 70 65 277 -11
11 Danny LEE / Ryan FOX New Zealand 75 64 72 67 278 -10
David HEARN / Adam HADWIN Canada 75 68 69 66 278 -10
13 Jaco VAN ZYL / George COETZEE South Africa 76 66 71 66 279 -9
Chris WOOD / Andy SULLIVAN England 71 66 77 65 279 -9
Alex CEJKA / Stephan JAEGER Germany 74 71 70 64 279 -9
Thomas PIETERS / Nicolas COLSAERTS Belgium 73 69 70 67 279 -9
17 Bernd WIESBERGER / Martin WIEGELE Austria 73 68 71 68 280 -8
Joost LUITEN / Darius VAN DRIEL Netherlands 75 64 75 66 280 -8
19 Thongchai JAIDEE / Kiradech APHIBARNRAT Thailand 73 66 77 66 282 -6
Russell KNOX / Duncan STEWART Scotland 78 65 72 67 282 -6
C.T. Pan / CHAN Shih-chang Chinese Taipei 74 65 74 69 282 -6
22 Danny CHIA / Nicholas FUNG Malaysia 77 68 72 66 283 -5
Bradley DREDGE / Stuart MANLEY Wales 74 66 80 63 283 -5
S.S.P CHAWRASIA / CHIKKARANGAPPA S India 74 66 75 68 283 -5
Byeong Hun AN / K.T. KIM Korea 74 69 76 64 283 -5
26 Ricardo GOUVEIA / José-Filipe LIMA Portugal 74 68 72 70 284 -4
27 Jhonattan VEGAS / Julio VEGAS Venezuela 74 68 76 67 285 -3
28 Miguel TABUENA / Angelo QUE Philippines 77 67 77 70 291 3