Karlsson and Stenson win World Cup for Sweden

Swedish pair Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson staged a fighting comeback to lift the Omega Mission Hills World Cup at the Mission Hills club in Shenzhen, southern China.

The duo were lying four shots off the pace after the third round behind leaders Spain and Australia. But their dazzling score of nine-under-par 63 on the final day enabled them to overhaul their rivals for a stunning three-stroke victory.

The Swedes totalled 261 for the four rounds. The Spanish pair of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Larrazabal combined for 70 to total 264 while the Aussies drifted away with a 76 to finish nine off the pace on 270.

They were tied with Japan’s Ryuji Imada and Toru Taniguchi, who turned in a fourth-round score of 68.

Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka were fifth on 272 after their 73, one stroke ahead of the English pair of Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher.

Karlsson had a great season on the European Tour, topping the money list to go with his two titles. Stenson, though, was still looking for his first victory of the year before claiming the World Cup with his compatriot. He said in an AP article:

“I thought it was our turn today. I’m starting to run out of tournaments. This is my third last. So I’ve got two more to go in South Africa. But winning for Sweden is nice. It’s been a while.”

Defending champions Scotland, with Colin Montgomerie and Alastair Forsyth, finished in tied 19th with Italy after their total of 281. The pair completed the final round in 72.

Karlson and Stenson scored five birdies on the front nine of the final round that laid the foundation for their victory.

They even had birdies on 11, 12, 14 and 15 as they ended up 23 under for the tournament.

The format of the tournament called for foursomes, where each golfer plays the same ball alternately, on Friday and Sunday. Thursday and Saturday are reserved for fourball, or best ball, where each golfer plays his own ball with the best score on each hole counting.

The Swedes shared US$1.7 million first prize as the tournament completed the second year of a 12-year contract with China’s Mission Hills, the world’s largest golf layout with 216 holes designed by some of the biggest names in the sport.

In Singapore, the International Team defeated Team Asia 12 and a half to 11 and a half in the 2008 Lexus Cup after Christina Kim two-putted from 20 feet on the 18th hole to halve her match and claim the winning margin.

Led by retiring Swedish star Annika Sorenstam, the International golfers claimed six and a half points in singles, which is what they needed to earn the victory. Sorenstam led the way with her three and two win over Team Asia captain Pak Se-ri.

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