By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM
Team Europe toppled Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup 2018 yesterday in Ryder Cup style, retaining the title by 14 points to 10, after being behind in the first two days.
Team Asia was leading the tournament on Day 1 and Day 2, but Team Europe put in a strong performance on the greens on the final day, winning 8.5 out of 12 points available, to clinch the 2018 EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-Hicom Bhd.
The Thomas Bjørn-led Team Europe took the title with an overall 14 points to 10 after the 12 singles matches concluded at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
European No 1, Tommy Fleetwood, contributed one point to Team Europe against Indian golfer SSP Chawrasia by 2 and 1.
It was all blue across the leaderboard except for Poom Saksansin (Thailand), Yuta Ikeda (Japan) and Li Haotong (China) in favour of the men in red on the fairways yesterday.
Matt Fitzpatrick and Kang Sung-hoon ended up with an all-square.
An upset for both Malaysian golfers in Team Asia as Gavin Kyle Green and Nicholas Fung were defeated by Spanish Rafa Cabrera Bello and nine European titles victor Alex Noren from Sweden by 4 and 3, and 4 and 2 respectively.
“It was disappointing. I don’t know what to say because it was just a tough day for me. Cabrera Bello played kind of nor- mal, but then I just made too many bogeys,” Asia’s top golfer Green said.
Day 1 last Friday of the fourball matches saw Team Asia led by first-time captain Arjun Atwal off to a good start with 3.5 and 2.5 lead.
Team Europe started Day 2 foursomes on a high note after winning three of the first four foursomes matches before Team Asia fought back by securing the last two matches of the day for a slim lead of 6.5 points, leaving their European rivals trailing one point behind.
The EurAsia Cup title slipped away from the hands of Team Asia on the final day as Team Europe outputted them one hole after another to claim continental supremacy.
“You play for very few points in the first two days and then you play for a lot of points on Sunday, and that is the way these events are. It can swing very much on the last day and we showed today that if you are good and strong on Sundays, you can win these things,” Team Europe captain Bjørn said.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak presented the EurAsia Cup trophy to Bjørn and each member of Team Europe with a miniature replica of the tournament trophy.
The winning team took home US$3.6 million (RM14.4 million) in prize money (US$300,000 for each member).
Team Asia members will share US$1.2 million along with silver medallions.
The event’s first edition in 2014 was a 10-10 draw as Team Asia made a last moment come back, which was then dubbed the “Glenmarie Miracle”.