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Page last updated at 08:26 GMT, Sunday, 29 November 2009

Italy edge Ireland to win World Cup of Golf in China

-29 Italy -28 Sweden, Ireland -26 England -22 Japan
Selected others: -21 Australia -20 Wales, South Africa -7 Spain-4 Scotland

Edoardo Molinari (left) and Francesco
The Molinari brothers celebrate their World Cup of Golf victory

Edoardo and Francesco Molinari held off Ireland and Sweden on a thrilling final day to secure Italy's first victory in the World Cup of Golf in China.

The brothers had started the day one shot behind Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell but four birdies in five holes around the turn were vital.

Italy were one ahead of Ireland and Sweden after 17 but despite finding sand, they rescued a decisive par.

England carded a 64 to finish on 26 under, three shots behind the winners.

Italy were three behind Ireland at the 8th tee but while McIlroy and McDowell dropped shots at that hole and the 10th, the Molinari brothers started to make their move.

I think 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

Francesco Molinari

They birdied the 9th and the 11th before younger brother Francesco sunk a monster 30-foot putt at the par-four 12th to put them a shot clear.

Francesco had another birdie putt at 13 to extend the advantage but that was reduced when Ireland birdied the 15th.

In the group ahead, the Swedish pairing of Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson, who won the title last year, dropped their first shot of the tournament at the 8th but four birdies gave them the clubhouse lead of 28 under.

And while they nervously waited in the scorers hut, Italy came up the last knowing that par would probably be enough for victory.

But that was placed in doubt when Edoardo fired his approach into a greenside bunker while McIlroy put his on the green.

Francesco's bunker shot was sublime, however, and after McDowell's birdie putt stopped just short, Edoardo was left with a three-foot tap-in to secure a famous win.


"When I saw the ball going in, it was the sweetest feeling on earth," said the 28-year-old Edoardo, the former US Amateur champion who has now won four of his last six tournaments.

Francesco added: "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.

"It's really great for Italy. I think 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 and hope for the best."

The result was a big disappointment for Ireland who had led after each of the first three rounds following a blistering 58 on the opening day.

"We got lucky in a couple of spots today where it could have really gone wrong for us there and it didn't," said McIlroy, who missed a two-foot par putt at the 10th. "So we can't say we didn't have the luck with us. We just didn't make the most of it."

The English duo of Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher had started the final round foursomes eight shots adrift but they fired eight birdies to move up the leaderboard.

Stephen Dodd and Jamie Donaldson of Wales carded a final-round 70 to finish on 20 under.

Spain ended a disappointing week with a 74 as world number eight Sergio Garcia and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano finished on seven under with Scotland finishing last, a further three shots adrift.

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see also
Ireland World Cup lead cut to one
28 Nov 09 |  Golf
Ireland hold on to World Cup lead
27 Nov 09 |  Golf
Ireland storm into World Cup lead
26 Nov 09 |  Golf
Dodd to arrive at World Cup late
25 Nov 09 |  Golf
McIlroy moves into world top 10
23 Nov 09 |  Golf
Sweden in stunning World Cup win
30 Nov 08 |  Golf

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