Shah Alam, Malaysia, January 13: Team Asia produced another inspired performance at Saturday’s Foursomes matches to maintain a one-point advantage over Team Europe at the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM.
Team Asia has never led at any stage over their continental rivals in the history of the EurAsia Cup but after holding the lead for two days, team captain Atwal is confident his team can ink their place in the record books.
“I absolutely believe we can win the EurAsia Cup. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here. That has always been my belief since I took up this captaincy. I’m not surprised or shocked by our results so far. Because if you look at my players, they are fantastic and they are all winners,” said Atwal.
The day’s proceedings did not exactly go to plan for Team Asia as they lost their opening two matches at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
The Indian pair of Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia suffered a 3&2 defeat at the hands of Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and England’s Tommy Fleetwood in the first match while Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Korea’s Byeonghun An went down 2&1 to England’s Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton in the second match.
Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick thought they had struck another fatal blow to Team Asia’s EurAsia Cup title aspirations when they won 3&2.
But the formidable partnership of Malaysia’s Gavin Green and Japan’s Yuta Ikeda, who had earlier won their fourball match, gave Team Asia a huge psychological boost when they beat Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello and France’s Alexander Levy by one hole.
“They have been fantastic. Both of them have been so good and they have inspired everybody else. I’m very pleased with their pairing and everything that has been leading up to it and the way they have delivered,” said Atwal.
That point sparked a comeback for Asia as Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara showed their putting prowess to bring down Sweden’s Alex Noren and Ireland’s Paul Dunne 2&1.
“Putting wins matches. If you make putts, you’re going to win matches. The winning side always drains putts, whether they are long or short. I’m very lucky all my guys can putt really well,” said the Indian captain.
China’s Li Haotong and Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung then completed another memorable day for Team Asia when they won another point by beating England’s Paul Casey and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger 3&1.
“They have been fantastic. Both of them have been so good and they have inspired everybody else.” – Arjun Atwal on Gavin Green and Nicholas Fung.
Team Europe’s captain Thomas Bjorn knows of his tough task ahead of the final Singles matches and is determined to put up a stiff challenge against an inspired Team Asia.
“We live to fight another day tomorrow and we’ve got 12 strong players, as I said, all week. I believe in all 12 of them, as I always will.
“We’ve got to go out and put some blue on that board and try and win the Singles. It’s as simple as that. We are slightly disappointed with the outcome today but I’m sure we can rise to what’s ahead of us tomorrow,” said Bjorn.
DRB-HICOM Berhad (“DRB-HICOM”) is one of Malaysia’s leading conglomerates with core businesses in the Automotive, Services & Education, as well as Property sectors. With more than 90 active companies in its stable and over 59,000 employees group-wide, DRB-HICOM’s aim is to continue adding value and propelling the nation’s development. In the Automotive sector, DRB-HICOM is involved in the manufacturing, assembly and distribution of passenger and commercial vehicles, including the national motorcycle. In Services & Education, DRB-HICOM is involved in various businesses, including concession and financial-related services. In Property, DRB-HICOM is involved in residential and commercial developments.
About Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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About the European Tour
The European Tour celebrates men’s professional golf on a global stage. In 2017, the European Tour International Schedule features a minimum of 47 tournaments in 26 countries, including eight Rolex Series events, all part of the Race to Dubai.
Celebrating the global connectivity of the European Tour and Dubai, the Race to Dubai is a season-long competition to crown the European Tour’s Number One player, an honour which in 2016 went to Sweden’s Henrik Stenson for the second time, and which since 2009 has also been achieved three times by Rory McIlroy, as well as by Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald. Formerly known as the Order of Merit, points are accumulated based on prize money won, with the top 10 ranked players at the end of the season sharing a $5million Race to Dubai bonus pool.
Since its formation in 1972, the European Tour has witnessed 26 Members celebrate a total of 52 Major Championship titles between them, enjoyed ten Members attaining the pinnacle of World Number One and has celebrated its diversity as players from 36 different countries have won on the Tour.
The European Tour also manages the Challenge Tour, which featured 28 tournaments in 22 countries in 2016, and the Senior Tour, which featured 13 tournaments in nine countries in 2016. It is also the Managing Partner of Ryder Cup Europe, the body which, alongside the PGA of America, administers golf’s greatest team contest, The Ryder Cup.
The European Tour broadcasts live coverage of its tournaments to more than 490 million homes in more than 150 countries every week, generating in excess of 2,200 global broadcast hours for each event. It also enjoys the support of many of the world’s leading business brands with Rolex, BMW, Emirates and Titleist as Official Partners.
About MMC Corporation Berhad
MMC Corporation Berhad (MMC) is a leading utilities and infrastructure group with diversified businesses under three divisions, namely ports & logistics, energy & utilities and engineering & construction.
Its key businesses under the Ports and Logistics division include the operations of Port of Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd, Johor Port Berhad, Northport (Malaysia) Bhd, Penang Port Sdn Bhd, Kontena Nasional Berhad and JP Logistics. Internationally, MMC has an associate stake in Red Sea Gateway Terminal Company Limited, a container port terminal within the Jeddah Islamic Port, Saudi Arabia.
Under the Energy & Utilities division, MMC is the single largest shareholder of both Malakoff Corporation Berhad and Gas Malaysia Berhad.
MMC’s Engineering & Construction division has further established itself in the sector with a leading role as the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) and underground works package contractor for the 51km Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) project (Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line) and Line 2 project (Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya Line). Prior to this, MMC has successfully completed the 329km Ipoh-Padang Besar Electrified Double Tracking Project as well as the innovative Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) motorway, the first-of-its-kind dual-purpose tunnel in the world.
MMC continues to make inroads in the construction industry, securing key civil and infrastructure projects in the country namely Langat Centralised Sewerage Treatment Plant, Langat 2 Water Treatment Plant, civil and infrastructure works for RAPID Pengerang Cogeneration Plant. Additionally, MMC has a 20% effective interest in Borneo Highway PDP Sdn Bhd (BHP) which has been appointed as PDP for the Sabah Pan Borneo Highway Project.
In other businesses, MMC owns Aliran Ihsan Resources Berhad, a water treatment plant operator and Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd, the operator of Senai International Airport in Johor Bahru; a major aviation hub and the main air transportation gateway to Iskandar Malaysia. Additionally, MMC’s Group Property arm manages close to 6,000 acres of industrial developments in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor and Kulim, Kedah, namely Senai Airport City, Tanjung Bin Petrochemical & Maritime Industrial Centre (TBPMIC) and Northern Technocity in Kulim. The Senai Airport City, TBPMIC and NTC (NTC) developments come under the ambit of Group Property’s three operating companies – Senai Airport City Sdn Bhd, Seaport Worldwide Sdn Bhd and Northern Technocity Sdn Bhd respectively.