Friday, January 15, 2016

Europe take 3pt first-day lead in Eurasia Cup
Tournament: EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM
Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

Europe produced a dominant opening day display to take a firm grip of the EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM, establishing a 4 ½-1½ lead over their Asian counterparts.

Ian Poulter and Bernd Wiesberger set the tone in the opening fourballs match by beating Anirban Lahiri and Jeunghun Wang 4&3, with the English duo of Lee Westwood and Chris Wood setting the seal on a superb start for Darren Clarke’s team by beating Kiradech Aphibarnrat and SSP Chawrasia in the sixth and final match at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club.

In between, there were convincing victories for Ross Fisher and Kristoffer Broberg (6&4 over Prayad Marksaeng and KT Kim), and Andy Sullivan and Shane Lowry (2&1 over Shingo Katayama and Wu Ashun); whilst the only defeat for Europe came in match two, which went the way of Asia as Byeonghun An and Thongchai Jaidee defeated Matt Fitzpatrick and Danny Willett 3&1.  

Perhaps the only potential cloud on the horizon for Team Europe is the knee injury suffered on the 15th hole by Victor Dubuisson, who played through the pain barrier in helping Søren Kjeldsen secure a half in their match with the Malaysian duo of Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung.

But Captain Clarke was confident the diagnosis was nothing serious, and that the Frenchman would be fit to take his place in the Saturday foursomes.
Key quotes:

Ian Poulter:
“It worked out nicely today. I think we for the most part put two balls in play. When you do that and you have good looks, you don't both have to make it on the same hole and that's exactly what we did. Darren said, listen, go out there first and get it done, that's exactly what we did today. And we dovetailed nicely. We put two balls in play for the most part and we kept them under pressure. Holed a few key putts. Especially around the turn, 12, 13, were key holes for us, and obviously that was enough to get the job done.”

Ross Fisher: “I didn't really have an inkling me and Kris were going to play together until probably Thursday, so I was quite excited. Clarkey explained why he put us together: apparently we make the most birdies together as a pairing. So we were really up for the challenge come the first tee, and just kept saying to each other, come on, let's keep the pedal down. Let's get two balls in play, that's what Clarkey reiterated to us last night at the meeting and that's what we tried to do today.”

Søren Kjeldsen: 
““That was a great match. None of us really gave anything away. I thought we had the advantage after I chipped in on 17, but he made a great chip there also. Victor plays like a rock star. He is a rock star, and I just love playing with him.”

Lee Westwood:We dovetailed well. Made quite a few birdies, no bogeys, didn’t give any holes away. Woody played well, especially around the back nine and he made some lovely putts when he needed to. They were always going to be a tough combination to beat as they are both good players and they hit a lot of fairways, so we knew we had to be on top of our game.”
Darren Clarke: “A three-point lead after day one, it's a wonderful start for Europe. There was a lot of matches there that it could have swung either way on the back nine. Halfway around, Europe were leading in all the matches. I was on the radio to a few of the other guys and said, this is match play, Asia are going to come back at some stage on the back nine, and that's exactly what they did. We had a strong couple of matches and managed to finish with a very good result.”



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