Storms sweep Welsh pair to World Cup glory

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The Independent Online

Their name will for ever be adorned by an asterisk in the record books, but that was not bothering Wales one bit as they lifted the World Cup for the first time since 1987 here yesterday.

"It's the best rain I've ever watched," said Stephen Dodd after a violent thunderstorm forced the abandonment of the final round, ending an eight-month drought for the Algarve and one of 18 years for Wales.

"This is huge for us and huge for golf in Wales," Bradley Dredge said. "Sure it would have been nice to go out there and finish it in style, but a win is a win. So we'll take it." And so will their bank managers, as a little over £400,000 was deposited in each of their accounts. Try telling them - or anyone in Wales - that this victory was at all hollow.

The whisperers will, of course, and the feeling was that it would have taken some performance for the world's 75th and 82nd-ranked players to fend off Luke Donald and David Howell in the closing foursomes. But that is to discount the rhythmic manner with which Wales cruised to a 27-under total. "The Welsh boys deserved it," said an ever-gracious Howell, having been forced to settle for a tied second with Sweden's Henrik Stenson and Niclas Fasth.

The most telling indication of the solidity of the Dodd-Dredge alliance was provided by Saturday's final fourball holes. Dredge would prefer to recall the eagle on the par-four 15th, when he drove the green, as the vital moment, although he had to concede Dodd's fearless birdie-par finish as the real clincher.

Indeed, the three-wood from a sodden uphill lie over the lake and onto the par-five 17th green was not only the most nerveless shot of the tournament but also, quite possibly, the finest. Dodd was unable to put his finger on why his career has turned round in the last year and may well have concluded: "Who cares?" Wales are champions of the world. A "Double D" cup they will long be marvelling at.

* Tiger Woods retained his Dunlop Phoenix title in Miyazaki, Japan, yesterday after beating Kaname Yokoo on the fourth extra hole. Woods won despite twisting his ankle on the first hole of the sudden-death shoot-out and limping through the next four holes. He birdied them all.

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