Canada’s Graham DeLaet and Stuart Anderson won the Omega Mission Hills World Cup European Qualifier by two strokes to secure their ticket to China alongside Wales and Scotland in a thrilling final round in Estonia.
DeLaet and Anderson carded a solid level par 72 in the final round foursomes at the Estonian Golf and Country Club to hold off the challenge of Stephen Dodd and Jamie Donaldson of Wales, who shot a 71 in blustery conditions on the Sea Course.
All eyes were on the battle for the final qualifying spot. Scotland started the day in fifth place, five shots behind third place Portugal and one behind fourth place Austria. Austria’s hopes of qualification were dented early in their round with a double bogey on the first hole and they never recovered.
Scotland made their intentions clear from the start, opening their round with a birdie. It was to be the first of five on their front nine. Portugal kept their nose in front until consecutive bogeys on 13, 14 and 15 put an end to their challenge for the final spot at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup.
Buoyed by their victory in the qualifier, Canada were feeling confident about their chances when they tee it up at Mission Hills Golf Club in the World Cup final in November.
“When Graham and I are both on form, we can definitely contend. We played pretty well today. We had got ourselves far enough in front that we could cruise along today. It is great that we won but our first goal was to qualify this week”, said Anderson
DeLaet added: “We came here to get the job done and finish in the top three and we did it. We are very excited to have the chance to play in China and we have a great chance to really compete when we get there”.
“It’s always exciting to put your country’s bag on your bag and stride down the fairway. Growing up as a kid in Canada you dream of representing your country at ice hockey. Golf is the only sport that I will have the chance to fulfil that dream with and I am really proud.”
Former World Champion Stephen Dodd was full of praise for his partner following the Welsh team’s performance in Estonia.
“Jamie played great this week. It was nice to achieve what we came to achieve and we look forward to the World Cup in China. I think Jamie will relish the experience over there and he’ll come through it with flying colours”.
“It’s been a tough week”, added Donaldson. “We played really well in foursomes. Dead solid with just one bogey in two days. That’s great golf.”
“Doddy is a great player. He was at a bit of a canter this week and it was tough for him to get massively motivated having won the big event before but it was great to know he was there to make the crucial pars and birdies when it really counted.”
“I’m really happy to have the chance to represent Wales. I have played for my country as an amateur but I wanted to play for Wales as a professional and it is great to have the honour to do that. Very happy.”
Scotland were justifiably proud of their final round 66 which was their lowest round of the week, achieved in the toughest conditions and in the more challenging foursomes format.
“It was windy out there but we did everything right”, said Forsyth. “We didn’t hit a poor shot all day and we holed some long putts. Our only bogey came with a three putt from 25 feet on the thirteenth but we’ve struggled with that hole all week. We came straight back and birdied the fourteenth”.
“It would have been a disaster for us if we didn’t qualify this week. I think we underestimated the other teams. We thought it would be relatively easy to qualify but that wasn’t the case. We are over the moon to have made it through”.
Whereas Forsyth knows all about the World Cup Drysdale will be making his debut in China.
“It’s fantastic. I can’t wait to get to China. I’m really looking forward to it. This is the first time I have represented Scotland. Alistair will fill me in on what it’s all about.”