Birdies and bogies

Algarve golfing brothers Ricardo and Hugo Santos took joint 20th place for Portugal in the prestigious Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China.

The pair’s two-under-par opening effort of 70 only merited last place in this top quality field, but excellent subsequent rounds of 68 and 66 temporarily raised hopes of an unprecedented top10 finish.

Unfortunately the Santos’ indifferent closing par 72 put that prospect out of reach.

The €5.5 million team competition saw long-time leaders Northern Ireland, represented by Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, eventually finish joint fourth behind Englishmen Justin Rose and Ian Poulter and Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Andre Cejka, who shared second.

But the winners turned out to be relatively unknown Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland, who carded successive rounds of 64, 70, 63 and 67 to take the title for the United States for the first time since Tiger Woods partnered David Duval to victory here in 2000.

Closer to home, Portugal started strongly at the PGA European International Team Championships in Vale do Lobo before fading.

The annual competition open to club pros played out on the resort’s Ocean Course had threesome Nelson Cavalheiro, Nuno Campino and Joao Pedro Carvalhosa in sixth place behind their English counterparts early on before slumping to ninth and 12th prior to the last day’s play.