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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 221
LATE call-ups after the withdrawals of Danny Willett and Lee Westwood, new England pairing Sullivan and Wood have their work cut out for them. No strangers to team formats, having featured for Europe at this year’s Ryder Cup, the Englishmen will be hoping they can do more for their country than they were able to do for their continent at Hazeltine. Their four combined Ryder Cup matches yielded just one point, but the pair have enjoyed solid European Tour seasons around it, with Wood jagging the BMW PGA Championship. Wood was also at Kingston Heath in 2013 but was never in the hunt after a 4-over 75 in the opening round, eventually finishing tied for 32nd alongside teammate Danny Willett. MOLINARI unsuccessfully attempted to carry his compatriot when the pair got together to contest the 2013 World Cup. The older of the Italians could have contended for the individual crown, if not for bookending rounds of 75, and eventually finished eighth, while Manaserro was all at sea at Kingston Heath, finishing third last at 16-over. Manassero, once billed as golf’s next big thing, has since continued his tumble into the abyss, having missed 15 cuts from 28 events this year, with just one top 10 result along the way. He now sits at 344th in the world, a long way off his career high of 25. He’s still just a 23-year-old, of course, but the dependable Molinari would need to shoot the eyes out of the course this week for them to be any show. WE DON’T see a lot of this pair, who play most of their golf in Europe and Asia, but An and Kim are among the outsiders who might just surprise us this week. Kim [left] has been slaying it in Japan this year, with three wins there to go with four other podium finishes among his 25 tournaments worldwide, while An has been solid in Europe and has turned in some big performances in the US, including a T2 at the Zurich Classic. ENGLAND ITALY SOUTH KOREA PLAYERS: CHRIS WOOD & ANDY SULLIVAN ABSOLUTELY worth consideration among the contenders this week, Sweden have hitched themselves to new world number nine Alex Noren and will ride him all the way to a potential victory at Kingston Heath. Noren has been almost unstoppable since winning the Scottish Open in July, claiming the European Masters, British Masters and then overhauling a six-shot deficit to win Nedbank Golf Challenge in the months since. Lingmerth needs only to bring something approaching half-decent form for the Nordic pair to be a chance of victory. SWEDEN PLAYERS: ALEX NOREN & DAVID LINGMERTH PLAYERS: FRANCESCO MOLINARI & MATTEO MANASSERO PLAYERS: BYEONG-HUN AN & K.T. KIM
GA Express 220
GA Express 222