Friday, January 12, 2018

Europe trail Asia by one point at EurAsia Cup

Venue: Glenmarie Golf andCountry Club
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Image of Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood by courtesy of Getty Images 

Friday Fourballs
A birdie at the last hole from Li Haotong saw Asia finish the opening day of the 2018 EurAsia Cup with a 3½-2½ lead over Europeat Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Thomas Bjørn's men found themselves behind in four matches and all square in the other two as Asia dominated in the early stages of Friday’s four-ball matches, but Europe managed to turn the tide on the back nine as putts began to fall in all over the course.
English duo Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey put the first point on the board with a 4 and 3 victory over Byeong Hun An and Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the opening match, the pair getting off to a flying start when they went two up courtesy of a birdie from Fleetwood at the first and Casey's long-range eagle putt at the third.
The hosts then picked up two points in quick succession, with Yuta Ikeda and Gavin Green beating Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick 2 and 1 before 2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson and rookie Alex Levy fell to Sunghoon Kang and Poom Saksansin 5 and 4.
The Asian pair went five up inside seven holes after starting the day with eight better-ball straight birdies and despite some impressive scoring from Stenson and Levy, Kang and Saksansin cruised to victory.
Englishmen Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton then put Europe back on level terms with a 5 and 4 win over Anirban Lahiri and S S P Chawrasia. 
Birdies from Fisher as the sixth, eighth and ninth had the European pair three up at the turn, while Hatton fired two further birdies at the 11th and 14th to wrap up the point.
After Alex Noren and Paul Dunne had lost to Hideto Tanihara and 18-year-old Phachara Khongwatmai by two holes, Li Haotong and Nicholas Fung halved their match with Rafa Cabrera Bello and Bernd Wiesberger to hand Asia a one-point lead at the end of the opening day.
Player Quotes
Thomas Bjørn - Team Europe Captain: 
“ When I look at the scoring in the groups, I feel like a couple of guys should have done better but, in general, there was a lot of good golf from our side.
“The results speak for themselves on both sides. There's some guys that played extremely good golf. You look at our top pairing today, quality all the way through. They are class, both of those boys. It was nice to see Paul (Casey) come back into the fold of European golf and go out determined to deliver.
“Tomorrow's foursomes will be a very different game. We are looking forward to the challenge , but this Asian team is very strong and very much ready to play.  
“I learn something every second of the day when I'm a captain, but I don't only do that here. I do that every day and I talk to a lot of people. Being captain is something that is a role that you take on and it's a role that once they start playing golf, you realise that things are very much out of your hands.  You can do all the preparation and put everything in place, but it's for them to go and play the golf.”
Tommy Fleetwood: “We had a really good morning. It was great to be playing competitively again and it's just a different atmosphere when you play on a team. There's a bit more nerves to it because it's not you; it's the team that you're playing for and just great to get that first point on the board.
“I've said it for a long time since I came out on Tour, Paul Casey was always in my top few players that I played with, potential wise and ability wise. He's been one of the most consistent players in the world for a while, and it's great to have him back. It was a pleasure for me to play with him today. We worked together well and got on well. He's a massive asset."
Paul Casey:Trying to make sure I would make my debut back in Europe with style. Three years being away, I had to do something positive, and after getting a captain's pick and then getting a Race to Dubai Champion as my partner, yeah, I had to get off to a flyer. So it was fantastic.
“We're not underestimating this Asian team by any means. We are taking this very seriously, so the score you see on the leaderboard right now is not through complacency.  Clearly, they have played some amazing golf to be in this position.
“I love match play, especially when you have a partner like Tommy Fleetwood. What a blast, what great golf we played, but the Asians threw a lot at us. Ecstatic to get this going and get a point because it's going to be a tough weekend.

matchups2 (002) 
Friday Four-ball Results:

Match One: Tommy Fleetwood  and  Paul Casey bt Byeong Hun An and Kiradech Aphibarnrat 4 and 3.

Match Two: Thomas Pieters and Matthew Fitzpatrick  lost to Yuta Ikeda and Gavin Green 2 and 1

Match Three: Alex Noren and Paul Dunne lost to Hideto Tanihara and Phachara Khongwatmai 2 holes.

Match Four: Henrik Stenson and Alexander Levy lost to Sunghoon Kang and Poom Saksansin 5 and 4.

Match Five: Bernd Wiesberger and Rafa Cabrera Bello  halved with Nicholas Fung and  Li Haotong

Match Six: Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton  bt Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia 5 and 4.

Team Europe: 2½
Team Asia: 3½
(Team Europe first)

Match 1: 9.35am Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson vs S.S.P. Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri.
Match 2: 9.45am Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton vs Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Byeonghun An.
Match 3: 9.55am Rafa Cabrera Bello and   Alexander Levy vs Gavin Green and Yuta Ikeda
Match 4: 10.05am Matthew Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters vs Sunghoon Kang and Poom Saksansin.
Match 5: 10.15amPaul Dunne and Alex Noren vs Phachara Khongwatmai and Hideto Tanihara.
Match 6: 10.25am Ross Fisher and Bernd Wiesberger vs Li Haotong and Nicholas Fung.



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