Pakistani pair put themselves in world spotlight

When it comes to Pakistan and sport, one would instantly mention cricket. Hockey and squash are other sports in which the sub-continental country has boasted world-class athletes.

Golf-wise, Pakistan are still among the minnows. However, a significant breakthrough was made by two Pakistani golfers on the Asian stage that could lead to world recognition.

Muhammad Shabbir and Muhammad Munir helped their country qualify for their first-ever Omega Mission Hills World Cup finals last weekend.

The duo finished third in the Asian qualifiers in Malayisa to join Singapore and the Philippines at the November finals in China.

Shabbir and Munir shot a combined three-under-par 68 in the final round foursomes for their total of 274.

Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing and Mardan Mamat, a European Tour winner, compiled 269 after a 72 on the last day, one stroke ahead of the Filipino twosome of Mars Pucay and Angelo Que.

The top three teams qualify for the finals from Asia, which means fourth-placed Malaysians Danny Chia and Iain Steel, who finished on 276, missed out.

It was an historic performance for the Pakistanis with Munir saying in an Asian Tour media release:

“Never before in our history have we been in golf’s World Cup. We showed that we are in there for the first time and hopefully we will be able to perform well in China. I don’t know how to describe how we feel right now. I’m sure everyone in Pakistan will be very happy.”

Five other Asian countries are among the 18 teams who qualified automatically for November 26-29 to be played on Mission Hills’ Olazabal Course.

They are India, Thailand, Japan, Chinese Taipei and South Korea. China qualify as hosts.

Sweden’s Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson won last year’s tournament ahead of Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Larrazabal. The Japanese pair of Ryuji Imada and Toru Taniguchi were third.

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