The Irish pair recorded a 68 in the fourball format to join Australia on top of the leaderboard on 13-under par with Australian’s Richard Green and Brendan Jones forfeiting a two-stroke lead with bogeys at 16 and 18 on the Blackstone course.
However, contrary to tabloid reports and suggestions on some websites that the World Cup will not be played after this year, Mission Hills owners emphatically declared the competition will continue.
Ken Chu, Chairman and CEO of Mission Hills confirmed the 2013 event will be a dual individual scoring event and also a four-round scoring team event.
He said: “My father had this dream to promote golf and to showcase China golf to the rest of the world and if our (sponsorship) partners don’t want to do it that’s their choice.
” But I will continue for his legacy and I will say that and you can write that and record that.
” I will carry forward what my father has promised to general public of China and to the rest of the world. And through the publicity this World Cup deserves it will help attracting a new sponsor and it will help their brands and positioning on the world stage. It will have world ranking points and it will be held biennially and at around this time of year.”
The Federation of Golf Tours is expected to announce the restructuring of the World Cup in coming weeks.
Meanwhile McIlroy has expressed delight with life under new management company, Horizon Sports.
“Now that I am with Horizons it has given me more opportunity to spend more time with G Mac and more so than I would have had the opportunity in the past.
“Of course, we see each other at tournaments and might play practice rounds together and then hang around the clubhouse.
” But like the last fortnight in Shanghai for the HSBC Champions and now this week, we do get to see more of each other off the golf course.
“I enjoy G Mac’s company no matter where in the world we are playing. But now having the same management company does allow me to spend more time with him.
“It is nice to have someone there you’re close to so you can have dinner or a drink together and chat about issues and matters now common to both of us.”