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Italy pip Sweden to golf World Cup crown

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Italy pip Sweden to golf World Cup crown
Henrik Stenson of Sweden reacts after losing the Omega Mission Hills World Cup
09:45 CET+01:00
Italy's Molinari brothers overcame Sweden and Ireland to win the World Cup at China's Mission Hills on Sunday after a thrilling final round tussle - the first time the nation has lifted the trophy.

Italy started the final round foursomes just one stroke behind leaders Ireland and powered into the lead with three consecutive birdies on the back nine, finishing on a total of 29 under, winning by a single stroke.

A monster 30-foot putt at the par-four 12th took Francesco and Edoardo Molinari a shot clear at the top of the leaderboard and they followed that with another birdie at the par-three 13th, finishing with a final round 68.

Consistent Sweden, who did not drop a shot in the entire tournament until the eighth hole Sunday, birdied the par-five 15th to close the gap to just one shot and keep the pressure on.

Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson, who won the trophy last year and started the final round in joint second place, ended with a 69 and a total score of 28 under par.

Ireland's powerful pairing of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, who had set a blistering pace with a 58 in the first-found fourballs, started shakily, with a bogey on the par-five third after McIlroy found the trees with his tee shot.

Although they hit back with a run of four birdies, a dropped shot at the par-three eighth and a missed two-footer from McIlroy for par at the 10th proved costly.

England, teaming Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher, started the day eight strokes adrift of the leaders but powered up the leaderboard with eight birdies in a final round 64.

Japan ended a further four shots back on a total of 22 under, one clear of Australia.

Last year's runners-up Spain, led by world number eight Sergio Garcia, finished on seven under after a miserable tournament, despite starting as one of the favourites.

The 5.5-million-dollar Omega Mission Hills World Cup, near Shenzhen, is a 72-hole event with 28 teams each comprising two players.

The first and third days were fourball, in which four balls are used and the player with the fewest shots takes the hole for their team. The second and final days involved foursomes play, where the teams compete using only one ball per pair.

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