World Cup Of Golf: Team By Team Guide To This Week's Event In Australia

Dylan Frittelli & Erik van Rooyen

I can't say that I knew it was a thing, but Erik van Rooyen was a worthy recipient of the 'Graduate of the Year' award having coped admirably with the rise in grade from Challenge to European Tour. The only thing missing is a win but he was unfortunate to bump into one in Joburg and could well make amends on home soil in the coming months. Note that he loves links golf, which this almost is, and 26th in Dubai last week shows that his game is ticking over nicely. Dylan Frittelli played clearly the best golf in the field there over the weekend for seventh place overall and doesn't make many mistakes, particularly off the tee. Having grown used to strong winds when playing college golf in Texas, he should feel at home in Australia where he was second on his sole previous visit and this is a partnership to take very seriously.

South Korea

  • Byeong-hun An & Si-woo Kim

Bundles of talent across this pairing and some quality titles to go with it, Ben An having won the BMW PGA and Si-woo Kim a two-time PGA Tour winner, including the PLAYERS. As far as An goes, it was disappointing to see him crash down to 10th at the Australian Open having threatened to run away with it early, but one bad round can be forgiven and he's generally been in excellent form for a while now. Kim has been a big eye-catcher throughout the formative stages of the new PGA Tour season, his putting a particular positive, but he's not quite managed to see it through and return to the world's top 50. Still, he's an awesome talent and if these two catch fire during fourballs they could break 60; equally they could shoot 80 in foursomes. Hard to know which to expect.

Spain

  • Adrian Otaegui & Jorge Campillo

Two steady Spaniards whose form has been so strong this year that they were asked along to the Ryder Cup with a view to the future. Both will have to raise their games to achieve that lofty aspiration and this could be a good starting point, as they replace Ryder Cup pair Rafa Cabrera Bello and Jon Rahm. Spain's chances have of course diminished as a result but Otaegui was fourth last week and third in Turkey, so his game is in excellent shape. Campillo hasn't been so good but at least signed off with his best round of the week in Dubai and could take to the format. Still, he's without a professional win in close to a decade of trying and looks the weak link which will cost Spain.

Sweden

  • Alexander Bjork & Joakim Lagergren

Two young Swedes who have won for the first time at European Tour level this year. Indeed, one surely inspired the other as Alex Bjork won in China before Joakim Lagergren took a play-off for the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open, having lost one a year earlier in the Qatar Masters. Those tournaments might be significant as they favour players who are comfortable in the wind, but Lagergren is a difficult man to predict. We saw his best and his worst last week in Dubai, where Bjork failed to progress over the weekend but nevertheless finished an excellent 12th. Potential contenders, no doubt, if Lagergren is on a going week, but his form in Australia has so far been appalling and he'll need to turn it around.

Thailand

  • Kiradech Aphibarnrat & Prom Meesawat

It's been another solid late-season run for Kiradech Aphibarnrat and he's been very close to having a big chance to win, instead settling for ninth last week and fourth in the WGC-HSBC Champions. The putter blows hot and cold, the latter proving costly in Turkey, but the long game is right on and he'll look forward to a return to Australia having won the Perth Super 6 earlier this year. His World Cup form is also strong having been 19th in 2016 and fifth with his own ball under a different format in 2013. Prom Meesawat has been ticking over nicely of late and while not a name to strike fear into opponent pairings, his recent ventures to Australia have been fruitful.

United States

  • Kyle Stanley & Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar won this alongside Gary Woodland in 2011 and has a no less suitable partner here in Kyle Stanley, one of the best ball-strikers on the PGA Tour. Stanley simply doesn't make many mistakes from tee-to-green and if Kuchar's short-game is at its best, that could make for a very competitive score in foursomes - and it's not as though they look weak when it comes to fourballs. The concern for Stanley is that he does miss more than his share of putts, but the real conundrum here is the form of Kuchar. On the one hand he won two weeks ago in Mexico, on the other he shot 73-75 over the weekend in the Australian Open, where he was challenging for favouritism at halfway. Perhaps Mexico masks the reality - that he isn't the player he was in 2011 - and while the US are usually the ones to beat in this event, they might be worth taking on this time.

Source : https://www.sportinglife.com/golf/news/world-cup-of-golf-team-by-team-guide/155104

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