Asian Teams Vie For World Cup Places

Organisers of the Fortis International Challenge in Malaysia this month were hoping for a few big names for the qualifying tournament for November’s World Cup.

However, their only hope of a big-name player, New Zealand, opted to go with Stephen Scahill and Richard Lee.

Kiwi former US Open champion Michael Campbell is unable to represent his country, but there is still expected to be a mad scramble to earn one of the five places available for the World Cup in Mission Hills, China.

After Iceland withdrew from the tournament, the qualifiers are left with a total of 20 teams vying for the five vacant places in the finals. Already, 18 teams have qualified for the finals via the Official World Golf Rankings while Asia and South America will provide the remaining 10 places.

Thailand, with European regular Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marsaeng, will start out as favourites along with Taiwan, Holland, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and home side Malaysia.

Taiwan will not field Lu Wen-teh, who claimed victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on the Asian Tour for his second title this season.

The 43-year-old Lu closed with an even-par 72 on his home course at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club for a total of four-under-par 284 and a top prize of $100,000.

Korean Ted Oh, the overnight leader, collapsed to card a 76 on the final round but managed to hold on to the runner-up spot, three strokes behind.

Lu’s victory enabled him to rise to seventh on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit with $220,572 in earnings so far this season.

He also became the first Taiwanese player to eclipse $1 million in earnings from the Asian Tour.

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