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Korea, N. Zealand, Singapore qualify for World Cup

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia (AFP) -- New Zealand powered to a superb closing round of 67 on Saturday to qualify for the Omega Mission Hills World Cup, with Singapore and Korea also securing their place alongside the elite.

The Kiwi pairing of Michael Hendry and Gareth Paddison capped a perfect day by holing out from a greenside bunker to birdie the last at the Seri Selangor Golf Club to tie Singapore’s 13-under-par total of 271.

Singapore’s Lam Chih-Bing and Mardan Mamat shot 72 on the last day but they conceded to New Zealand without playing any extra holes as both had qualified for the event proper at Hainan Island in China between Nov. 24-27.

Hendry and Paddison were both dressed in black, New Zealand’s national colors, and beamed with pride at the prospect of joining the world’s top golfers at the 28-nation biennial event.

“We worked really hard on our games ... It is great to represent our country in the World Cup and hopefully go on to make the country proud,” said Hendry.

Paddison, a left-hander, who sank the bunker shot at the 18th, was delighted to win the qualifying after a final round of five birdies, one eagle and three bogeys.

“We combined very well. It has been a great week and we came here with the goal to qualify and it is a fantastic feeling. Somehow being left handed with a right handed partner worked for us on this course,” said Paddison.

Lam and Mardan, who have teamed up together in four previous World Cups, said they were delighted at the prospect of doing so again.

“We came here with the goal of finishing in the top three and we did just that,” said Lam, who also played in the British Open this year.

“It didn’t matter if we finished in first, second or third, just as long as we qualified for the World Cup. That’s why we conceded in the play-off,” he added.

Korea’s Kim Hyung-sung and Park Sung-joon claimed the third and final ticket for the finals after closest rivals Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri of India scored a disastrous eight on the par four 18th for a final round of 80.