January 14: Here’s what Team Asia had to day after the Sunday singles matches at the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM.
DAY 3 – SINGLES
Q. How intense was your match today?
YUTA IKEDA: I played really good golf today. It was a close match. In the first two holes I birdied both of them and then on hole 16 I missed the putt and bogeyed. I had a good up and down on 17 and on the last hole so I am very happy about that. In the three matches that I have played over the past couple of days I am very happy with how I played this week and with how the team did.
Q. It was a good day for you. Tell us about your round.
LI HAOTONG: It was all right. Just played average. Had some missed tee shots but it was a fun day.
Q. You didn’t lose a match this entire week. Can you sum up your first EurAsia Cup?
LI HAOTONG: It was really good for myself. Unfortunately our team lost this time, but hopefully we’ll fight back next year.
Q. How much pressure were you feeling on the last hole?
SUNGHOON KANG: Not really, I’m looking at the leaderboard already and it’s almost finished. I got a little frustrated on the last few holes but we still had a good week. We were pretty strong the first two rounds. I’m really proud of that. We’ve got to work on it and we’re going to beat those guys next time.
Q. How strong was your opponent today? What were you thinking?
SUNGHOON KANG: We were playing some good golf today. I hit some good shots. He hit some good shots. We didn’t make any putts today. It was good match overall.
Q. Would you sum up your whole EurAsia Cup experience for me?
SUNGHOON KANG: Everything was really great. The weather was really good for Malaysia. It wasn’t too hot and it didn’t rain too much. We had a good experience this week.
Q. Coming down 18, what were you thinking?
BYEONGHUN AN: To hopefully make birdie again. It was a disappointing day. I started terribly. Saw I was 4‑down, and I fought back well to come back to all‑square. But the three putts I had on 16 definitely didn’t help my match. Somehow got the birdie on 17. I tried my best. I knew it was an important match. You know, just couldn’t make the halve.
Q. Can you sum up your EurAsia Cup experience?
BYEONGHUN AN: It was disappointing. I didn’t get a single point, but I had a lot of fun. I got to meet great friends this week, so I think that helps. That was the fun part of this week, just meeting new people. It’s disappointing that we lost, but hopefully two years later, we can win. We’re getting closer, definitely. So, it’s looking promising. We’ll see what happens in two years.
Q. How intense was the match today?
KIRADECH APHIBARNRAT: I didn’t play my best golf the last two days until today. Especially the front nine, just really disappointed with the three bogeys. Good opening holes, and then at least five birdies on the back but not enough to bring me back in the game.
Q. Overall, how do you think your EurAsia Cup was?
KIRADECH APHIBARNRAT: Well, I’ve got a lot of experience in team events, but with the way I’m playing, it’s not my A Game. I tried to putt everything in the last round, but I just could not make everything happen by the end of the day.
Q. What’s next for you?
KIRADECH APHIBARNRAT: I will spend more time in Europe and the U.S., next week in the Middle East.
Q. How does it feel to score a point for Team Asia?
POOM SAKSANSIN: I feel proud of myself that I got a point for Team Asia.
Q. How was it like playing against Paul Casey?
POOM SAKSANSIN: He played very consistent golf, like fairways and greens all the way. But maybe just bad luck that the ball didn’t go in.
Q. What was good about your game today?
POOM SAKSANSIN: I think only putting.
Q. Second point for Team Asia this week. How do you feel?
POOM SAKSANSIN: I feel very good. My goal was to just get a point for the team, just one point is good enough, but yeah, I got two.
Q. How did you feel on hole 18?
POOM SAKSANSIN: I feel nervous, like my hands were shaking a little.
Q. What did Captain Arjun tell you? Did he talk to you?
POOM SAKSANSIN: Yeah, he said, ‘Good job, I love you,’ is all he said.
Q. How was your round today?
PHACHARA KHONGWATMAI: Today, I didn’t hit it well at the start and made it easy for Team Europe to earn their point. But now I did better in the back nine, just that my opponent just did a little better than I did.
Q. Your first EurAsia Cup, how was the EurAsia Cup experience for you?
PHACHARA KHONGWATMAI: When we started the first day, I was very excited, and now, I look back and am very happy with such a good team and a really good captain, made some good friends that really support me.
Q. Let’s just have your thoughts on the day.
GAVIN GREEN: It was disappointing. I didn’t know what to say because it was just a tough day for me. I got off to a terrible start, and you know, simple bogeys, which kind of cost me. Rafa played kind of normal but then I just made too many bogeys. I kind of gave him the lead which was careless of me. Nevertheless, I played well the first two days and I helped the team out. I had fun. That’s the most important thing. I’m just disappointed. I tried to come back pretty good but Rafa just played well and he made some putts. It’s okay. It is what it is.
Q. Were you looking at the leaderboard?
GAVIN GREEN: I was looking but it didn’t affect me. I was still trying to push and trying to come back and hopefully help to at least score a point for Asia. All I can do now is sit and watch and support. But, I had fun this week. Rafa played well, and you can’t do anything about that.
Q. How intense was it out there today?
NICHOLAS FUNG: You know, after the draw came out yesterday, I knew it was going to be a tough game, playing with Noren, because he’s one of the top guys in Europe. So I think for me, I just wanted to go out there to have fun and maybe also maybe learn something from him.
Q. Did the crowds make you more nervous?
NICHOLAS FUNG: Not really because I hope to see the crowds out here to support our Team Asia. Obviously today was a better crowd and also thanks to them we feel the support we needed.
Q. Can you sum up your EurAsia Cup experience for us?
NICHOLAS FUNG: It is my third time playing the EurAsia Cup, and it’s good exposure for Team Asia. Of course, I know it’s hard to play against the top guys in Europe, and of course we always try to beat Europe so that it can give us more confidence to go out and play in Europe. I think that’s our main target overall.
TEAM ASIA PRESS CONFERENCE
CALVIN KOH: Team Asia, you definitely put up a very gallant performance over the past three days. Team Captain, perhaps you go share, how proud of the boys are you
ARJUN ATWAL: Very proud, actually. They are a great group of guys. They are all awesome players. You know, it was tough, with almost every match, we didn’t make enough putts. It looked like every time I watched my players, they were hitting the edges and it seemed like Europe, every time I watched them, they were either chipping in or making a lot of birdies. It’s tough to beat them when they are doing that. We are very, very proud of every single one.
ZHANG LIAN‑WEI: I’m very proud of the boys, especially having led the EurAsia Cup for the first two days, and the future seems very bright for Team Asia.
Q. Just looking back, you seemed to have all your strong players in the middle of the 12. Do you think you could have gone top heavy from No. 1 itself?
ARJUN ATWAL: Yeah, I was thinking about that, but I basically decided to ask everybody in the singles where they were comfortable playing and we all came up with this plan. But whichever order I would have put today, those guys really played well today. It wasn’t a strategic thing. I knew they were going to go top heavy, we all knew that. We got Poom to win us a point right off the bat. I don’t know, I think the strategy was fine. I think we just got outplayed, nothing more than that. Right? (Turning to team in agreement).
Q. You’ve been talking a lot about the youngsters on your team and once again the youngsters, led by Poom, they did a great job. When you look at the future, do you think they can achieve a lot in Asian golf and what kind of future do you see from these boys?
ARJUN ATWAL: The sky is the limit for them. It’s unbelievable. They are all fantastic players. I got to know some of these guys a lot better this week just watching them play, and really, they can achieve anything they want. They can win majors. They can win big tournaments on big tours. There’s no limit.
Q. For someone like Poom who beat Casey, who is really an accomplished match play player, do we foresee some of these boys getting into contention in the majors in the next few years?
ARJUN ATWAL: Yeah, absolutely. Any of these guys on this whole team. Phachara, he’s 18. Look at the way he handles himself under pressure. If I was 18, I don’t know if I would be able to do what he did this week, playing in this type of pressure.
Q. At the start of the day, there was a lot of blue on the board, but in the end, but one thing you showed was how well the guys fought toward the back nine. At one stage it looked like you would get the six points that you needed. Can you just talk about that?
ARJUN ATWAL: Yeah, everybody kept fighting. Even though a few guys were 2‑down, 3‑down or whatever it was, no one actually gave in. Not that they would, but it was a lot closer when I watched each and every single one of them than how it looked on the board. You know, when you see the board, you see all the blue, but you actually have all these individual matches, they are all reallyc close. Like I said, those guys just outputted us today, that was it. They just made a lot more putts than us.
Q. Golf is declining in Europe in terms of popularity and it’s growing in Asia. In that context, how important is an event like the EurAsia Cup and how do we expand a tournament like this?
ARJUN ATWAL: For Europe or for Asia? If golf is growing in Asia, then we definitely are doing something right. I haven’t looked at any of these surveys or anything, so I don’t know. But I think Asia is pretty healthy where golf is concerned. We’ve got a pretty strong tour. The Asian Tour is very strong I think. We’ve got a lot of youngsters coming up from every country. Like I go back to India and I see all these youngsters coming up and it’s fantastic to see. Yeah, these type of tournaments would help, but we’re doing fine.
Q. I wanted to ask you, if you had to change a few things in this tournament, especially like naming the captain at the time, you were named, what, three months before the tournament, and the players were named awhile after. So there was really no buildup to this tournament. How would you like to change that and would you like the captain to be named maybe nine months from now?
ARJUN ATWAL: Like you said, if they know they are going to have it in two years, I think as soon as this is done and you’re moving on to prepare for next one, I think the captain should have ample time like you said, absolutely. If I had more time, I would have done a few more things for my team because I didn’t really know what to expect coming in here. Like, you know, we didn’t have a stats team and 15 people running around the golf course. We were allowed only three golf carts for my team, which was’nt enough. I would have make the preparation a lot better because I don’t like to show up at a tournament unprepared, and I wouldn’t like my team to be unprepared, either. So, I would definitely change so that when my team does get here, everything is set and ready to go, and me and my people that are working, all we have to do is just worry about them and nothing else, but that wasn’t the case.