Bigger crowds expected to support Team Asia.
It was a fantastic first day for Asia as they pipped the more fancied Europeans 3½ to 2½ in the Fourball Matches played in wet conditions at the 2018 EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM, being played at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club.
The scoreline read like a dream come true and was the best start Asia made since the biennial tournament first took place in 2014.
At one point the leaderboard had more red, signifying Asia held the upper hand, and although things could change in the blink of an eye, Asia held their own and defied the odds against the higher ranked Europeans.
There was a good crowd, considering the weather, but players like Gavin Green, Asia’s No. 1, and Tommy Fleetwood, Europe’s top player, were enticement enough. Now that Asia had captured not only the lead, but the imagination of Asians everywhere of a possible win, many more fans and golf enthusiasts will have incentive to invade the fairways and watch the action live on Saturday and Sunday.
The big draw on the first day was obviously Green, who didn’t disappoint, and in the end won his match with partner Yuta Ikeda, 2&1, against Thomas Pieters and Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Hot on their heels were the pairing of Hideto Tanihara and Phachara Khongwatmai, who at 18 is the youngest in the field, and they notched the second point with a 2up victory over Alexander Noren and Paul Dunne.
Claiming the third point were Kang Sung-Hoon and Poom Saksansin, who played brilliantly to beat Henrik Stenson and Alexander Levy 5&4.
Malaysia’s other player in the team, Nicholas Fung, together with Li Hao-Tong, halved their match against Bernd Wiesberger and Rafa Cabrera Bello at the very last hole with a nail-biting birdie by Li.
Team Europe’s Tommy Fleetwood and partner Paul Casey put blue on the board for Europe against An Byeong-Hun and Kiradech Aphibarnrat with a 4&3 victory. Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton had a convincing 5&4 win over the much fancied Indian pair of Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia.
Team Captain, Arjun Atwal, did everything in his power to inspire his team and the outcome, so far, is testament to his passion and commitment to have Team Asia claim the cup outright for the first time.
Roll on Day 2 and let the cheers ring out for Team Asia Boleh!
“They are all champions and they all know how to win. If you come into our team room, you’ll see their banners up, and each and every one holding trophies. In golf, if you can win a golf tournament, it takes a lot of guts and a lot of heart, and all 12 have it. So I’m just trying to inspire them, but they already have it in them.”
Arjun Atwal, Team Asia Captain
“I think every match is fair. I don’t think there’s an up and down on any match. I think me and Ikeda worked out the pairing that suits us the best, and I think that given he’s playing in Japan, and he’s a pretty straight player off the tee, and I’m a little longer, so I think that will be a really good lineup. I think that him having experience and me under his wing, I think it will be a good match.” said Malaysia`s Gavin Green
“I’m very excited to be on the Asian team. Just make anything to get the win in any match, and I’m happy every time to play match play. This week for Asia, just more challenging on the course and I don’t think anything, just playing my game in Asia.”
Pachara Khongwatmai, Thailand