Singapore, Taiwan advance

Published October 10, 2005

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9: Singapore and Taiwan earned their tickets to the Algarve World Cup after surviving a nerve-wracking finish in the Qualifier at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club on Sunday.

Singapore’s Mardan Mamat and Lam Chih Bing, who had led the first three rounds, combined for a one-under-par 71 in the foursomes to finish joint winners with Wang Ter-chang and Chang Tse-peng of Taiwan, who closed with an impressive 68 for a 19-under-par 269 total in the 12-nation Qualifier.

There was heartbreak for Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant and Prayad Marksaeng, the week’s favourites, and the Malaysian pairing of Danny Chia and Iain Steel as they missed the boat to Portugal after finishing one and three shots respectively behind the joint top finishers.

Thailand made a brave bid with an outstanding 67 in the alternate shot format while Malaysia, who started the day in second place, stumbled down the stretch for a 73, dropping three bogeys over their closing six holes.

For Mamat, it was mission accomplished as he put up a courageous display with partner Lam as he has been fasting this week due to the holy month of Ramazan.

They got off to a blazing start when Lam holed out from 120 yards with a sand wedge for an eagle two on the par four second hole. Further birdies on the fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth holes against a dropped shot on eight saw them turn in 31 and with what looked like a comfortable five-shot lead.

But the Singaporeans stuttered down the back nine with bogeys on the 10th and 17th holes and a double bogey on 12 before finally sealing their place with a composed par at the closing par five.

Mamat, who played in the British Open in July, said Lam’s stunning eagle proved to be crucial in the end.

Thailand’s Prayad and Thaworn, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader, came out with guns blazing with an outward 32 but their effort proved futile in the end.

Home side Malaysia was poised to earn one of the two World Cup tickets available by going to two-under for the round through 11 holes.

But bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes after missing short par putts and another dropped shot at the last when Chia drove into the watery grave saw their hopes dip dramatically.

The home side knew they needed to eagle the par five 18th to force a playoff, but Chia found the water hazard with an errant drive.

Pakistan finished 12 strokes behind the leaders in sixth place with their pair of Muhammad Munir and Muhammad Shabbir closing with a final round of 73.

The Algarve World Cup in Portugal will be held at Victoria Clube de Golfe Vilamoura from Nov 17-20.

Final round scores:

269 — Singapore (Mardan Mamat, Lam Chih Bing) 64, 70, 64, 71; Taiwan (Wang Ter-chang, Chang Tse-peng) 67, 69, 65, 68

270 — Thailand (Thaworn Wiratchant, Prayad Marksaeng) 69, 68, 66, 67.

272 — Malaysia (Iain Steel, Danny Chia) 66, 69, 64, 73.

273 — Philippines (Angelo Que, Gerald Rosales) 66, 70, 67, 70.

276 — Finland (Janne Mommo, Ari Savolainen) 65, 74, 64, 73.

281 — Pakistan (Muhammad Munir, Muhammad Shabbir) 70, 70, 68, 73.

289 — Myanmar (Kyi Hla Han, Zaw Moe) 67, 73, 66, 83.

292 — Hong Kong (Derek Fung, Dominique Boulet) 71, 75, 68, 78.

293 — Fiji (Krishna Singh, Mira Singh) 73, 77, 69, 74.

295 — Slovenia (Daniel Kraljic, Damjan Murgelj) 70, 76, 73, 76.

301 — Mauritius (Billiy Narraina, Vishnoo Seeneevassen) 76, 72, 73, 80.—AFP



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