Sunday, 25 November 2018
Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry  (Getty Images)
Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry (Getty Images)

Belgium held a commanding five-shot lead as they headed into the final nine holes of the 2018 ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf.

Thomas Detry and Thomas Pieters brought a five-shot advantage into the final foursomes as they looked to win a first World Cup for Belgium and become the eighth team made up of all European Tour Members to lift the trophy in the last ten stagings.

That lead was briefly cut to three shots in the early stages but the duo recovered to turn in 33 and get to 22 under, five shots clear of hosts Australia, Mexico and South Korea at The Metropolitan Golf Club.

There was some good scoring further down the leaderboard to give the chasing pack hope and Marc Leishman hit an excellent tee-shot into the second to help Australia join the group in second.

Abraham Ancer and Detry both hit nice tee-shots into the par-three but while Roberto Diaz made his downhill left-to-right birdie putt for Mexico, the Belgians three-putted and the lead was down to three.

Leishman hit a nice third into the par-five fourth and with Cameron Smith finishing the job from inside six feet, the hosts were just three shots back.

South Korea had bogeyed the third but bounced back emphatically when Si Woo Kim put their second on the fourth to tap-in range and they made a stunning eagle to sit just three back.

The Belgians were not in the mood to be caught, though, and Detry rolled home a 20-footer on the fourth for an eagle and they were five ahead once more.

Mexico bogeyed the fifth after finding bunker trouble but a Diaz putt from the front fringe on the next saw them back in the group at 15 under.

South Korea found the green in two at the seventh and made a routine birdie to get to 16 under and ahead on the eighth, Smith holed a left-to-righter down the hill to get within four.

A nice bunker shot on the seventh from Diaz helped move Mexico into that group but Belgium got up and down from the side of the green - Detry holing from three feet to re-establish the five-shot cushion.

The Australians then quickly trimmed that back to four after getting on the green at the par-five ninth in two.

Pieters hit a beautiful bunker shot on the eighth to help the leaders save par but Diaz rolled in a long putt to make it three birdies in a row and they were alongside Australia.

South Korea continued to play the par fives well as they birdied the ninth but Belgium did the same and led by five at the turn.

Italy were six shots off the lead after turning in 34, one clear of defending champions Denmark, England, Sweden and Canada.

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