MELBOURNE • Thorbjorn Olesen and Soren Kjeldsen blended flamboyant youth and wily experience in sealing a shock triumph for Denmark at the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne yesterday.
The pair displayed tremendous poise under pressure to hold off their challengers by four strokes to accomplish the biggest feat in Denmark's golfing history in the strokeplay team competition which was first contested in 1953.
Denmark turned into the back nine at Kingston Heath with their four-shot overnight lead cut to just one, as a host of countries - including joint runners-up China, France and the US - waited for a stumble that never materialised.
The enigmatic 26-year-old Olesen and his veteran 41-year-old partner Kjeldsen instead played flawless fourball (better ball) golf as they made six birdies on the back nine to finish with a six-under 66 and a total of 268 to win by four strokes for their nation's first World Cup triumph.
When Olesen secured the historic trophy with a birdie on the 18th hole, he raised his fist to the crowd before embracing Kjeldsen, who was playing in his sixth World Cup.
"We both came in good form this week and then we've just gelled so well," Kjeldsen said before the pair hoisted the giant World Cup trophy.
"We've had an incredible week here in Melbourne, and I think a friendship has been built as well."
The US$8 million (S$11.4 million) event featured two-man teams from 28 countries and represented the biggest victory of each Danish player's career, with world No. 50 Kjeldsen and 70th-ranked Olesen both having won four times on the European Tour.
"It's been amazing, I love Australia. I have won in Perth also, so I don't know what it is about Australia," Olesen said.
A nine-under round of 63 from Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque ensured France's highest World Cup finish, while a 65 from Wu Ashun and Li Haotong meant China also came in on 272 as did the US team of Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker with a closing 66.
The 21-year-old Li, who followed up his 23rd place finish in the European Tour's Race to Dubai standings a week ago with a brilliant performance yesterday.
Swedish duo Alex Noren and David Lingmerth finished in style with a round of 62 that included six birdies on the back nine, to propel them to a fifth-place finish with a 273 total.