SENAI: South Korea's 23-year-old Kim Dae-sub drained a 40-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole as he and partner Shin Yong-jin led their country to a stunning win over Myanmar in the World Cup qualifier at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club here yesterday.
Joining the Koreans for the Nov 18-21 World Cup in Seville are Myanmar and third-placed Taiwan, who finished with a four-round total of 278 while Pakistan will be first reserves in case any of the top three qualifiers withdraw.
Malaysia failed to make any headway on the final day of play when Danny Chia and R. Nachimuthu could only manage a 75 in the foursomes to finish a distant eighth.
Favourites Thailand who had laid their hopes on veteran Boonchu Ruangkit and Thaworn Wiratchant, also failed to qualify, finishing joint fifth with Philippines on 281 after carding a 73 yesterday. The Filipinos came in with a 68 but it was a bit too late for them.
Taiwan's Lu Wei-chih and Wang Ter-chang endured some anxious moments before claiming the last slot to Spain after a 76. The Taiwanese duo had a bogey and a double bogey in the last two holes and finished just a stroke ahead of surprise package Pakistan.
“We never thought of winning as our intention was to finish inside the top three,” said Dae-sub, who like Yong-jin, earned his first World Cup appearance.
“In the second hole of the playoff, I saw the putting line and felt good. I knew I would make the putt.”
Yong-jin, who is 16 years older, said their game plan was to “play safe” as they entered the final round with a four-shot cushion over the fourth placed team.
“I gues that was why we played well. K.J Choi would have earned an automatic place in the World Cup through the world rankings but he declined to play. I guess that gave us the opportunity to qualify and I am glad we have made it,” said Yong-jin, who was South Korea's number one last year.
For Myanmar's Kyi Hla Han and Soe Kyaw Naing it was still mission accomplished although they had their chances to claim victory. First, they missed a 12-foot birdie putt at the last hole in regulation play and then another eight footer in the first play-off hole.
“The main goal was to qualify and we felt comfortable the whole day up to the 14th when we double bogeyed,” said Hla Han who will be making his fifth World Cup appearance.
With Pakistan's Matloob Ahmed and Muhammad Shabbir posting a nine-under total on the board with their strong finish, Taiwan's Ter-chang and Wei-chih nearly blew it. Ter-chang missed an eight-footer for par on 17 and to compound matters, Wei-Chih sliced his tee shot into out of bounds on the par five 18th - as their hearts missed a few beats.
In the end, the double bogey was still good enough for the last ticket to Spain.
While, Korea, Myanmar and Taiwan celebrated, disappointment was written all over the faces of Danny and Nachimuthu.
“Nachi still has a lot to learn,” said Danny. He needs to play a few more tournaments like this. I am not blaming him but he needs to go out of Malaysia and play in international tournaments to gain exposure and experience.”