x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

The Italian job

Brothers make it a family affair in winning a dramatic three-way final round battle from Sweden and Ireland to win the Golf World Cup.

Brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari won a dramatic three-way final-round battle with Sweden and Ireland to claim a first World Cup of Golf for Italy by one stroke yesterday. The duo found their putting touch on the back nine to finish with a four-under-par 68 for a total of 29-under for the tournament at Mission Hills in China. "It's been a tough day and we have been playing against some of the best golfers in the world. It was really tough until the last, but it feels even better when it is like that," said Francesco.

"It's really great for Italy. We deserved it as we attacked from the first day with every putt and every shot and we tried to make as many birdies as possible. "I was lucky to hole two big putts on 12 and 13 which were probably the key moment and we just had to hang in there." The Molinaris made their move with three consecutive birdies between 11 and 13. Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell (70) led the tournament until the final round when they carded a two-under 70. McDowell's putt for birdie on the final hole to force a play-off came up short.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson shot a 69. Playing a group ahead of Italy and Ireland, Sweden could have had a share of the lead to force a play-off, but Stenson's long birdie putt on the 18th hole lipped out. England (64) finished fourth, three strokes behind the leaders, while Japan (69) were seven strokes back in fourth place, and Australia (67) were eight strokes back in fifth. Americans Nick Watney and John Merrick (62) had the best score in the final round to finish nine strokes back in sixth place, where they tied with Germany (65), South Korea (68), Wales (70) and South Africa (71).

* With agencies