Asian stars ready for World Cup of Golf

Melbourne, Sep 27 (IANS) Asia will be well represented at the $8 million World Cup of Golf at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club here from Nov 21-24 with 13 of the continent's top stars from seven nations qualifying for the event.

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who are the past and current Asian Tour No.1s, respectively, will spearhead the challenge along with Korea's K.J. Choi, eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, countryman Bae Sang-moon, India's Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri, Liang Wen-chong and Wu Ashun of China, Filipino duo Angelo Que and Juvic Pagunsan and Bangladesh's Siddikur.

Japan will also be represented at the World Cup with its two players to be confirmed later.

All eyes will be on Siddikur, who will become the first player from Bangladesh to compete in the World Cup. He became the first man to win on the Asian Tour at the 2010 Brunei Open and has since established himself by finishing in the top-10 of the Order of Merit in 2010 and 2011 and 17th last season.

"I'm very excited to represent Bangladesh in the World Cup. This will be the first time that Bangladesh will feature in the World Cup and it'll be a historic moment. I've played in the qualifiers before but have never made it into the event proper, so this is just great," said the 29-year-old Siddikur.

The World Cup of Golf, which will be played under a new format this year, will feature an individual competition offering prize money of $7 million while nations with two qualified players will compete in the team event offering $1 million.

The last time Asia won the World Cup was in 2002 through the Japanese team of Shigeki Maruyama and Toshi Izawa. Prior to that, the Chinese Taipei duo of Hsieh Min-nan and Lu Liang-huan triumphed at the 1972 edition in Royal Melbourne. Torakichi Nakamura and Koichi Ono of Japan were the first Asian pair to win the World Cup in 1957 when the event was held in their home country.

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