Leishman takes Smith as World Cup partner

Marc Leishman is confirmed as Australia's top-ranked player for golf's World Cup and he will take Cameron Smith as partner for the two-man teams event.

14-Sep-2018 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press
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Australia will boast the top-ranked player at the $US7 million ($A9.7 million) World Cup of Golf when Marc Leishman tees up at Melbourne's Metropolitan flanked by confirmed teammate Cameron Smith.

World No.22 Leishman will headline the November 22-25 event which features two-man teams from the top 28 available nations on the world rankings.

Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter is also expected to be a drawcard as he is set to be picked as a teammate by England's Tyrrell Hatton.

On Friday, Leishman became Australia's eligible frontrunner when world No.11 Jason Day deferred selection as wife Ellie is due to give birth to the couple's third child days before the World Cup.

Day is also expected to miss the Australian Open in Sydney the week prior.

Three-time US PGA Tour winner Leishman confirmed he would select world No.33 Smith - the next best Australian on the rankings - instead of No.41 Adam Scott.

"I'm really excited to take Cam; he's going to bring a lot of enthusiasm because it's his debut for an Australian team as a professional golfer," Leishman told AAP.

"It was a really hard phone call to Scotty; he's a close mate and any time you have to tell a mate you're not picking him is difficult, but Cam has been playing too well not to pick him.

"Cam loves team sports and I know he'll step up once we're playing for Australia."

Smith has been in fine form during the $US67 million FedEx Cup playoffs on the US Tour, including third-place finishes at the first two finals events.

He will arrive at next week's Tour Championship finale as the top-ranked Australian on the FedEx standings, in 10th place - ahead of Day (12th) and Leishman (29th).

After Leishman, the World Cup's highest-ranked available golfer is world No.26 Hatton.

Hatton is set to bring fellow Englishman Poulter, who will also line up for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup in Paris later this month.

Two years after Americans Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker headlined the 2016 World Cup at nearby Kingston Heath, Team USA's top eligible player in this edition is world No.27 Kyle Stanley.

Other stars confirmed to make the trip to Melbourne include Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, South Africa's Branden Grace and Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen, the defending champion.

The unofficial PGA Tour event has guaranteed a strong field with the majority of eligible nations' top-ranked players within the world's top 100 players.

Teams will compete for a $US2.6 million winner's share of the event's $7 million purse.

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