First win for Belgium at ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf


Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry led Belgium to their first victory in Australia on Sunday as they held off the hosts to win by three shots

It was a World first for Belgium on Sunday as Pieters and Detry combined for a total of 23-under to claim their nations first ever ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf title. 

The Belgian duo fired a final-round four-under 68 in the foursomes at Metropolitan Golf Club, outlasting a strong charge from Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith - who had at one point briefly cut their five-shot overnight lead to just one. 

"We weren't far away in the football World Cup, so it's pretty good to bring it back!" Detry said. "It's not really something you put on the list, but when it happens, you qualify for it, you play for it, you play with your best mate and it's kind of a dream come true.

“Being able to put our name down the list when you see the amount of good players and all the big names that were actually on the Cup, it feels pretty special.

They began the day with a comfortable cushion but by the second hole a short-miss for par from Detry showed signs of nerves as they found themselves with a lead that had been drastically reduced to just one shot. 

However, Detry soon regianed the Belgian momentum with a 20-foot eagle putt on the fourth, adding further birdies at the seventh and ninth holes to once again improve their lead over the field. 

Yet Australia, cheered on by a home crowd, looked a threat to the two Thomas'. They followed a front-nine 32 with three-birdies in a row from the 12th hole, which included a bunker hole-out from Smith that once more cut the Belgian lead to two shots. 

And while there were four birdies for the eventual winners on the back-nine, there were also three bogeys for Pieters and Detry. In the end though, a stellar approach at the last almost saw Pieters hole out from the fairway, with Detry sinking the four-footer for a final hole birdie to secure a three shot victory for the Belgian pair. 

For Pieters, the win was just as memorable as any individual event he has won. 

"It feels very good. It's been a long time since I won and this feels as good as an individual title. I'm very, very happy,” Pieters said.

“We'll take a lot of confidence out of this. It's a shame the season's over for me now.”

And although Detry is yet to win an individual title on the European Tour, Pieters now thinks this win will help change that.

"His drive down the 18th ... that's a drive of somebody that's going to win next year, for sure," Pieters said of his partner.

"To hit a drive like that, I can tell how much adrenaline was going through his body by how far it went. He's going to take this forward for sure."

Australia finished in a tie for second place with Mexico's Abraham Ancer and Roberto Diaz, with defending champions Thorbjorn Olesen and Soren Kjeldsen ending the event in fourth with Canada's Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor.

England's Tyrrell Hatton and Ian Poulter finished eight strokes back in eighth spot after a two-under 70, three shots ahead of Irish pair Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne, while Scotland's Russell Knox and Martin Laird finished tied 14th and Wales' Bradley Dredge and Stuart Manley ended a further stroke back following a final-round 70.