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Selangor, Malaysia: Two-man teams of rising stars and veterans will headline the Omega Mission Hills World Cup Asian Qualifying at the Seri Selangor Golf Club next week. 

Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri, both highly regarded as the new generation of superstars to emerge from India, will represent their country, with the aim of securing one of the three tickets available for the US$7.5 million Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China in November.

Lam Chih Bing and Mardan Mamat will renew their successful partnership where they will be aiming to represent Singapore in the World Cup for the fifth time and will be the favourites in the qualifier from August 3 to 6 (Wednesday to Saturday). They previously qualified for the World Cup at the Seri Selangor Golf Club in 2006 and 2009, where they won the qualifier. 

Veterans Mars Pucay and Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines, who have a combined age of 81, will form a new pairing next week. Pucay represented his country in the last two World Cups with Angelo Que but is relishing the new partnership with Lascuna, who played in the 2007 World Cup with Gerald Rosales.

Bangladesh will enter next week’s Omega Mission Hills World Cup Asian Qualifying as the dark horse. The in-form Siddikur, currently second on the Order of Merit, will be aiming to steer his country to a historic first appearance in the World Cup with partner Shakhawat Sohel.

Bhullar and Lahiri, who have a combined total of three victories on the region’s elite circuit, have been in sensational form with Lahiri winning his maiden Asian Tour title on home soil in April.

Bhullar got off to a flying start earlier in the year when he notched three successive titles in the sub-continent and will be eager to make his debut in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup Asian Qualifying a highly successful one.

However, Pucay, who claimed a tied 10th placing in the 2008 World Cup with Que, said teamwork and experience are crucial and will outweigh personal records.

“The World Cup has a unique format where you need teamwork for a good result. I know Antonio for a long time and we previously teamed up way back during our amateur days so it will be interesting. Both of us have played in the World Cup before so our experience will play an important part in the qualifier,” said Pucay.

Meanwhile, Siddikur will have to impart his experience to playing partner Shakhawat, a former Bangladesh national team captain, who will also be making his debut in the event.

“I have more experience than Shakhawat and I’ll need to show him around the ropes. It will be an interesting tournament and a dream come true if we can qualify for the World Cup. Golf in Bangladesh has gone a long way since I won in Brunei and I hope it will continue to grow,” said Siddikur.

A total of 19 teams have signed up for the qualifier at the challenging Seri Selangor Golf Club.

The format of competition at the biennial Omega Mission Hills World Cup Asian Qualifying will be the same as the Omega Mission Hills World Cup, with four-ball (better ball) being played in the first and third rounds and foursomes (alternate shot) used in the second and final rounds.

Photo - Asian Tour 

Asian Tour 

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