Leishman selects Smith as World Cup partner

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World No.22 Leishman will headline the November 22-25 event which features two-man teams from the top 28 available nations on the world rankings.

Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter is also expected to be a drawcard as he is set to be picked as a teammate by England’s Tyrrell Hatton.

On Friday, Leishman became Australia’s eligible frontrunner when World No.11 Jason Day deferred selection as wife Ellie is due to give birth to the couple’s third child days before the World Cup.

Day is also expected to miss the Australian Open in Sydney the week prior.

Three-time PGA Tour winner Leishman confirmed he would select World No.33 Smith – the next best Australian on the rankings – instead of No.41 Adam Scott.

“I’m really excited to take Cam; he’s going to bring a lot of enthusiasm because it’s his debut for an Australian team as a professional golfer,” Leishman told AAP.

“It was a really hard phone call to Scotty; he’s a close mate and any time you have to tell a mate you’re not picking him is difficult, but Cam has been playing too well not to pick him.

“Cam loves team sports and I know he’ll step up once we’re playing for Australia.”

Leishman said it was difficult not to choose Scott but Smith has been playing too well to overlook. PHOTO: Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

Smith has been in fine form during the $US67 million FedEx Cup playoffs on the US Tour, including third-place finishes at the first two finals events.

He will arrive at next week’s Tour Championship finale as the top-ranked Australian on the FedEx standings, in 10th place – ahead of Day (12th) and Leishman (29th).

After Leishman, the World Cup’s highest-ranked available golfer is world No.26 Hatton.

Hatton is set to bring fellow Englishman Poulter, who will also line up for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup in Paris later this month.

Two years after Americans Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker headlined the 2016 World Cup at nearby Kingston Heath, Team USA’s top eligible player in this edition is World No.27 Kyle Stanley.

Other stars confirmed to make the trip to Melbourne include Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, South Africa’s Branden Grace and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, the defending champion.

The unofficial PGA Tour event has guaranteed a strong field with the majority of eligible nations’ top-ranked players within the world’s top 100 players.

Teams will compete for a $US2.6 million winner’s share of the event’s $7 million purse.

– Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press

ISPA HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf: Committed Player list as at Friday 14 September 2018 …
 

Rank

Country

Committed Player(s)

 

Australia

Marc Leishman / Cameron Smith

 

England

Tyrrell Hatton

 

United States

Kyle Stanley / Matt Kuchar

 

Thailand

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

 

South Africa

Branden Grace

 

Denmark

Thorbjorn Olesen

 

Japan

Satoshi Kodaira

 

Korea

Byeong Hun An

 

China

Haotong Li

 

Argentina

Emiliano Grillo

 

Canada

Adam Hadwin

 

Scotland

Russell Knox

 

Belgium

Thomas Pieters

 

Sweden

Alexander Bjork

 

New Zealand

Ryan Fox

 

Venezuela

Jhonattan Vegas

 

Spain

Adrian Otaegui

 

Ireland

Shane Lowry

 

France

Alexander Levy

 

Austria

Bernd Wiesberger

 

India

Shubhankar Sharma

 

Netherlands

Joost Luiten

 

Finland

Mikko Korhonen

 

Mexico

Abraham Ancer

 

Germany

Martin Kaymer

 

Italy

Andrea Pavin

 

Zimbabwe

Scott Vincent

 

Malaysia

Gavin Kyle Green

© Golf Australia. All rights reserved.

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