England, South Korea, Australia tied for lead at World Cup

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ian Poulter and Tyrrell Hatton birdied six holes on the back nine to give England a share of the lead with South Korea and Australia after the opening fourballs at the World Cup of Golf.

Cameron Smith made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th Thursday to ensure he and Australia teammate Marc Leishman were in a tie atop the leaderboard with South Korea’s Byeong Hun An and Si Woo Kim, all with 10-under 62s at Metropolitan.

Those countries have a one-stroke lead over three teams — Belgium (Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry), Malaysia (Gavin Green and Ben Leong) and Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen, who won the title for Denmark by four strokes two years ago at nearby Kingston Heath.

India (Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar) and Ireland (Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne) were tied for seventh after 64s. The U.S. team of Kyle Stanley and Matt Kuchar were in a large group tied for 13th among 28 teams after a 66.

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On Friday and Sunday, it will be a foursomes (alternate shot), with fourballs again on Saturday.

Officials moved up tee times for Thursday due to expected storms and showers. But they never came, and when the last group finished, the sun was shining and the wind had dropped off.

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