IPS Handa World Cup of Golf: Key Takeaways From Day 1

With day one of the action all wrapped up at the IPS Handa World Cup of Golf, what are the key storylines so far?

World Cup of Golf

Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Although many of the world’s very top ranked players decided to skip this week’s event, the IPS Handa World Cup of Golf still boasts a talented field that should make for an exciting week of golf.

Having been away for three years, and not in a traditional team format for even longer, this week marks the return of the World Cup of Golf to its roots.

Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia is playing host to the action as the players will alternate between foursomes and fourballs formats over four days of play.

With a number of standout performers from recent Ryder Cup and President’s Cup matches joined by some of the most in-form players in the world hopes were high heading into the week, and on day one most of the big name players delivered on those expectations.

While the talented young Spanish duo holds the lead, notable teams from the US, UK, Ireland, Sweden and Italy are all positioned to pressure them over the next 54 holes.

What were the key takeaways from the first day’s play at Kingston Heath, though? Let’s take a closer look.

Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Fowler And Walker In Form For US

Coming into this event as not just two of the most successful players in the field, but also great friends and successful Ryder Cup teammates, expectations were high for Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker.

After the first 18 holes of the World Cup, the early signs suggest that the pre-tournament favorites may deliver too. On a day where scoring was particularly tough thanks to windy conditions, the American’s hard-fought round of 70 was good for a share of second.

Fowler and Walker score was built upon a strong run on holes 13 through 15, where three straight birdies ensured that they would finish the day by posting an opening red number.

Mandatory Credit: Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Strongest European Pairings Start As Expected

Outside of the American duo, many of the heavily favored groups from Europe put themselves in excellent position to pick up the trophy too. The Spanish duo of Rafa Cabrera Bello and Jon Rahm obviously left the biggest opening day mark with a round of 69 that included only one bogey and opened up a one-shot lead.

Away from the lead, English Ryder Cuppers Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood managed to post an under par score of their own, while also being joined by Italy’s Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero on one-under.

Just one stroke further back, Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell are ominously placed, alongside in-form Swede Alex Noren and his partner David Lingmerth. It’s all setting up for an exciting few days.

Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Knox’s Gamble Backfires

One of the leading sources of conversation heading into the World Cup of Golf was the controversial choices of playing partners for many of the top ranked players competing.

Although many of those who made bold or contentious choices already look like they could be vindicated, Russell Knox’s choice of European Challenge Tour player Duncan Stewart has not shown the most promising signs on day one.

Knox and Stewart currently prop up the field in last place following a six-over-par start of 78, and have a long way to go if they hope to start working their way back into contention in the Friday fourballs.

Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

IPS Handa World Cup of Golf – Day 1 Leaderboard

1 – Rahm/Cabrera Bello – 69 (-3)

T2 – Walker/Fowler – 70 (-2)

T2 – Haotong/Ashun – 70 (-2)

T2 – Dubuisson/Langasque – 70 (-2)

T5 – Manassero/Molinari – 71 (-1)

T5 – Wood/Sullivan – 71 (-1)

T7 – Lowry/McDowell – 72 (E)

T7 – Noren/Lingmerth – 72 (E)

T7 – Kjeldsen/Olesen – 72 (E)

Check back with us tomorrow as we’ll have all the key takeaways heading into the weekend, at the halfway mark of the IPS Handa World Cup of Golf.

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