Korea Reigns Supreme in Kl

Sun 21 Sep 2008

Korea Reigns Supreme in Kl


Kuala Lumpur, September 21: Korea's Bae Sang-moon and Kim Hyung-tae won the Fortis International Challenge by three strokes on Sunday as they led the Philippines and Italy into the World Cup.

Bae and Kim carded a superb six-under-par 66 in the final round foursomes at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club to overhaul Angelo Que and Mars Pucay of the Philippines, who carded a 70.


Italy's Francesco Molinari and Edoardo Molinari pipped the luckless Nigerian duo of Oyebanji Gboyega and Odoh Andrew Oche for the third and final ticket to the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China in November after closing with a 68.

Host Malaysia and Singapore finished joint fifth to miss the boat to China after rounds of 69 and 71 respectively.

The Koreans were thrilled to qualify for their maiden World Cup appearance after a superb performance in which they sank six birdies against no bogeys for a four-day score of 20-under-par 268.

"We're very happy. Yesterday, my putting was bad but Kim gave me a tip and told me to slow down my tempo and have the confidence when I'm hitting the putts," said Bae, who is a winner on the Asian Tour.

"We are looking forward now to China. I think we've got a good chance to play well. There was pressure out there but Kim is always very happy and that helps."

Kim said the team's partnership was outstanding despite playing together for the first time in the alternate shot format this week. "Last night, we said we wanted to go low and we managed to do that. Bae hits it so long that it makes it easy on the par fives. Our concentration was also very good all week.


"To qualify for the World Cup is very good. It's a big event, it's a step up for us. We've not played together as a pair previously but somehow, we've managed to click well together," said Kim, who is a two-time winner in Korea.

The Filipinos survived a nervy start with two early bogeys but regrouped to safely qualify in second place on 271 at the Fortis International Challenge. It will be Que's maiden trip to the World Cup and Pucay's second after he had also qualified back in 1999 at Kota Permai.

"I feel very happy to have made it again. I would like to thank Angelo who saved me today as he pulled off a lot of great shots. He played solid," said Pucay.

Que was also over the moon as his season keeps getting better following his win at the Philippine Open on the Asian Tour earlier in the year and a maiden Major appearance at the British Open.

"There was a bit of pressure as we knew Italy and Nigeria were making a move. I told Mars that we weren't hitting it bad and to just keep hitting greens.It's big to qualify for the World Cup. I've been lucky enough this year as I made it to the British Open through qualifying and we've qualified for the World Cup now. It feels really good," said Que.


The Molinari brothers showed their class with a 68, which included an eagle on the seventh hole, and felt sorry for the Nigerians. "It was tough in the end but I think we deserved it. It wasn't easy coming all the way here and dealing with the jetlag and different conditions. Finally today, some putts dropped in on the front nine and that was the key in the end," said Francesco.

"We are happy to make it to China. But you have to feel sorry for Nigeria as they played very well. We played with them on Friday and they played fantastic golf."

Nigeria, who was bidding for a first World Cup appearance, battled bravely and needed to birdie the par five 18th hole to force a play-off. But Gboyega topped the team's second shot which killed their chances as they bogeyed the hole for a 71, two shots behind the Italians.

"I was supposed to go in with a rescue club but I was a bit greedy and went for a three wood. I had to hit it low as well and I duffed it. It was one of those things," he lamented.

Final round results

268 -Korea (Bae Sang-moon, Kim Hyung-tae) 63-72-67-66

271 -Philippines (Angelo Que, Mars Pucay) 67-70-64-70

274 - Italy (Francesco Molinari, Edoardo Molinari) 68-71-67-68

(Top three teams qualify for the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China)

276 - Nigeria (Oyebanji Gboyega, Odoh Andrew Oche) 69-69-67-71

277 - Singapore (Mardan Mamat, Lam Chih Bing) 66-73-67-71

277 - Malaysia (Iain Steel, Danny Chia) 73-69-66-69

278 - Hong Kong (Derek Fung, David Freeman) 66-78-64-70

278 - Pakistan (Muhammad Shabbir, Muhammad Munir) 68-77-65-68

280 - Myanmar (Soe Kyaw Naing, Zaw Zaw Latt) 70-69-71-70

282 - Uganda (Deo Akope, Godfrey Mande) 73-74-63-72

284 - Sri Lanka (Anura Rohana, Lalith Kumara) 72-72-69-71

285 - Indonesia (Junaedi Ibrahim, Sarmilih) 71-72-68-74

288 - Kenya (Dismas Indiza, Anil Shah) 70-71-71-76

290 - Swazoiland (Robbie Wesselo, Meshack Zwane) 71-73-67-79

293 - Bangladesh (Siddiqur Rahman, Jibon Ali) 72-73-73-75

294 - Gghana (Emos Korblah, Victor Bravemensah) 67-79-72-76

301 - Brunei (Pengiran Hassanal, Faiz Damit) 70-78-72-81

302 - Nepal (Deepak Thapa Magar, Deepak Neupane) 72-77-75-78

Note: Fourball used in first and third rounds, Foursomes (alternate shot) used in the Second and final founds.

For further information, please contact Asian Tour's Chuah Choo Chiang at the tournament media centre tel: +603 5121 3364. Also visit www.asiantour.com


About Fortis

Fortis is an international financial services provider active in insurance and banking. Fortis ranks among Europe's top 20 financial institutions, with a market capitalisation of EUR 40 billion at year-end 2007. Together with ABN AMRO, we have a presence in over 50 countries and a dedicated, professional workforce of more than 85,000.

Fortis has been in Asia for over 105 years. It has successfully combined its banking and insurance expertise in key growth markets in Asia. Its regional headquarters are based in Hong Kong; other offices include Bangkok, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei and Tokyo.

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia.  This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Carlsberg (Official Beer), ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Sofitel (Official Hotel), TIME and FORTUNE (Corporate Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore's premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.