India recorded their second top-10 finish in the ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf after Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar produced a second successive two-under 70 in the final round here on Sunday. Lahiri and Bhullar finished on 12-under par 276 to share the 10th spot after Sunday’s foursomes round, while Belgium won the tournament for the first time with a total of 23-under 265.
Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry added a four-under par 68 in the final round to win by three shots at the Metropolitan Golf Club here. Hosts Australia produced a storming finish of seven-under par 65 to climb to tied second place alongside Mexico (66) at 20-under par.
Tied third after the first two rounds, the Indian duo was disappointed with their weekend, which saw them unable to match or better the previous best effort by an Indian pair in the tournament – Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa, who were tied ninth in 2005 in Portugal.
After a round that saw them make five birdies in eight holes from the seventh onwards, Bhullar said: “Pretty disappointed with our finish. I mean, things start getting better on the back nine. I had a few good shots and Anirban holed a lot of good putts. But it was just towards the end there.” Lahiri, who will now play his year’s last tournament in Indonesia in the Asian Tour season-ender, added: “If I was to sum it up, it’s been a bad weekend. I think we played really well Thursday, Friday, a lot of positives there.
“Yesterday really was the day that both of us played quite poorly, and yesterday was the day that we kind of got ourselves out of contention. “We both really enjoyed ourselves. We gelled together really well. We were talking about it, it’s been maybe four or five years since the EurAsia Cup that we teamed last time, so it was a good reunion.”
The previous best result of Belgium was a tied fourth place way back in 1955, and Pieters and Detry ensured that was obliterated with a fine round that included an eagle and six birdies to mitigate the four bogeys.
Pieters, a former Ryder Cup star who is a childhood friend of Detry, said: “It feels very good. It’s not something you put on your list when you’re a golfer, but, you know, I felt it this morning and I felt it while we were playing. it’s just excitement and a bit of nervousness.
“I told Thomas (Detry) yesterday, ‘let’s play like we’re two behind’. You do that in match play. I told him, you know you’re going to make a couple of bogeys, but we’ll make a lot of birdies as well just because the weather was nicer, the greens were a bit softer as well.”
Detry, a year younger to Pieters, added: “We weren’t far away in the football World Cup, so it’s pretty good to bring it back. There’s nothing like representing your country on the other side of the world, it’s just amazing.
“Being able to put our name down the list when you see the amount of good players and all the big names that were actually on the cup, it feels pretty special.”
The 56-man field from 28 countries, included six Asian nations with Korea, featuring Byeong-hun An and Si-woo Kim, the best placed at tied sixth.