Asia and Europe share EurAsia Cup

Sat 29 Mar 2014

Asia and Europe share EurAsia Cup

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Kuala Lumpur, March 29: A stunning fight back from Team Asia saw the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM end in a 10-10 draw after a thrilling final day at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club on Saturday.
Trailing 3-7 overnight going into the singles session – and having been 0-5 behind after the first day’s fourball session – not many gave Thongchai Jaidee’s team much realistic hope of turning matters around.
But they did just that, winning the session 7-3 to see the gleaming silver trophy shared at the end of the day with Miguel Angel Jiménez’s European troops.
Thongchai Jaidee and Anirban Lahiri of Team Asia Thongchai Jaidee and Anirban Lahiri of Team Asia
Hailed as ‘The Ryder Cup of the East’ before the tournament started, the event certainly lived up to that lofty billing, producing drama of the kind normally reserved only for the biennial contest between Europe and the United States.
As well as capturing the imagination of the spectators on course and the millions watching on television around the world, the event also thrilled the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak who, at the closing ceremony, announced the Malaysian Government’s support of the contest to return to the country in both 2016 and 2018.
In the end, the fate of the EurAsia Cup – with the score tied at 9 ½ - 9 ½ - laid in the hands of Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño and Hideto Tanihara of Japan, whose ding-dong battle saw them all square playing the last hole in the last match on the course.
Gonzalo Fernandez Castano of Spain Gonzalo Fernandez Castano of Spain
With both players on the 18th green in two, Fernandez-Castaño putted down to four feet while Tanihara’s effort stopped a foot and a half from the hole. Under intense pressure, the Spaniard held his nerve to roll his par effort into the back of the cup before sportingly conceding the Japanese player’s putt.
“I'm happy the way I performed under pressure but I have to say that was the most nervous I’ve ever been,” said Fernandez-Castaño, a seven-time European Tour champion. “However you just need to look around you at what is going on here: This is big. This is going to be the next big thing in golf and I'm really proud of being part of the first edition.”
Opponent Tanihara agreed. “There is not really much match play played in Japan so as a result this was a really great experience for me and all the members of the Asian team,” said the 35-year-old. “It was fun being here but I must admit my heart rate was pretty high over those final few holes!”
Asian captain Thongchai – who got Asia off to the perfect start with a 3 & 2 win over 2010 U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell – echoed the sentiments.
“Every member of my team was a hero today,” he said. “Everyone played really well but the match itself was unbelievable. It was a great finish and to end the contest on the final holes in the final match, I’ve never seen anything like it. It was amazing.”
Opposite number Jiménez – who was one of only two outrights winners for Europe when he nervelessly holed an eight foot birdie putt on the final green to beat a luckless Malaysian home favourite Nicholas Fung in the first match – agreed.
“It was tough for us today but it was an amazing day of golf and the Asian team played very well,” he said. “All the European players gave everything they had and I have respect for them all – it was a pleasure to be here with them this week. As I said at the closing ceremony, nobody lost – we both won. For this to be the first edition of the EurAsia Cup that was excellent and I wish all the best for the future.”
Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain
With the captains’ points in the bag for their respective sides, the next hour on the golf course firmly belonged to the hosts as they threatened to repeat the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ where Europe came from four points down on the final day to clinch The 2012 Ryder Cup from the United States.
Respective wins for Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Kim Hyung-sung, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri over Thomas Björn, Pablo Larrazábal, Thorbjørn Olesen and Victor Dubuisson, allied to Prayad Marksaeng’s half point against Jamie Donaldson, saw the overall scores levelled at 8 ½ - 8 ½.
Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman then moved Asia ahead for the first time in the three days with a 4 & 3 win over Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher before Dutchman Joost Luiten held his nerve to hole a four footer for a winning par four against Koumei Oda of Japan to bring parity once again.
It left the outcome of the entire contest on the match between Fernandez-Castaño and Tanihara – the half point being a fitting conclusion.
Final Day Singles Results (Team Europe first)
Miguel Angel JIMENEZ bt Nicholas FUNG 1 hole;
Graeme MCDOWELL lost to Thongchai Jaidee 3 & 2;
Thomas BJORN lost to Kiradech APHIBARNRAT 2 & 1;
Jamie DONALDSON & Prayad MARKSAENG halved;
Pablo LARRAZABAL lost to KIM Hyung-sung 4 & 2;
Victor DUBUISSON lost to Anirban LAHIRI 2 & 1;
Thorbjorn OLESEN lost to Gaganjeet Bhullar 4 & 3;
Joost LUITEN bt Koumei ODA 1-Hole;
Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO & Hideto TANIHARA halved;
Stephen GALLACHER lost to Siddikur RAHMAN 4 & 3.
Second Day Foursome Results (Team Europe first)
Miguel Angel JIMENEZ/Pablo LARRAZABAL & Thongchai JAIDEE/ Kiradech APHIBARNRAT halved;
Thomas Bjorn/Thorbjorn OLESEN lost to Prayad MARKSAENG/KIM Hyung-sung 4 & 3; Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO/Stephen GALLACHER & Koumei ODA/Hideto TANIHARA halved ; Victor DUBUISSON/Joost LUITEN lost to Anirban LAHIRI/SIDDIKUR Rahman 1 hole;
Graeme MCDOWELL/Jamie DONALDSON bt Gaganjeet BHULLAR/Nicholas FUNG 2 & 1
First Day Fourball Results (Team Europe first)
Miguel Angel JIMENEZ/Pablo LARRAZABAL bt Thongchai JAIDEE/ Kiradech APHIBARNRAT  2 & 1;
Thomas Bjorn/Thorbjorn OLESEN bt Koumei ODA/Hideto Tanihara 2 Holes;
Victor DUBUISSON/Joost LUITEN bt Prayad MARKSAENG/SIDDIKUR Rahman 3 & 2;
Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO/Stephen GALLACHER bt Gaganjeet BHULLAR/Anirban LAHIRI 4 & 3; Graeme MCDOWELL/Jamie DONALDSON bt KIM Hyung-sung/Nicholas FUNG 3 & 1
Ends
About DRB-HICOM Berhad
DRB-HICOM Berhad (DRB-HICOM) is one of Malaysia’s leading conglomerates with core businesses in the Automotive; Services; and Property, Asset & Construction sectors. With more than 80 active companies in its stable and over 57,000 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, DRB-HICOM is involved in various businesses, including concession and financial-related services. In Property, Asset & Construction, DRB-HICOM is involved in residential and commercial developments. Visit www.drb-hicom.com
About Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM)
Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) is a Company Limited by Guarantee, registered on 5th August 2010 in Malaysia. As a non-profit organisation, PGM’s objectives are to promote the sport of golf and to contribute towards its enjoyment and growth. To conduct and/or coordinate training on golf-related courses in order to enhance the playing capabilities and skills of professional golfers, as well as to promote and/or conduct a golf Tour or events as a means to hone their skills and to elevate the standards of the professional golfers in Malaysia. PGM provides a platform for Malaysia’s professional golfers to enable them to focus on playing while PGM shoulders the responsibility of arranging and financing these tournaments. To achieve these objectives, PGM organises a series of golf tournaments on an annual basis. For the year 2012, PGM hosted 20 tournaments offering RM3 million in prize money, seven of which were co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour. The schedule for 2013 features 22 tournaments offering prize money of over RM4 million, 10 of which are co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour and three with the ASEAN Tour. The expansion of the Tour on an annual basis and the increased prize money is an indicator of its vibrant growth year-on-year.
About the 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 Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.
About The European Tour
The European Tour is committed to celebrating the game of golf from the origins of the professional game, building a proud history of achievement, sportsmanship and integrity as well as showcasing our diverse global talent and rich landscapes. The European Tour's innovative approach enables us to embrace the world, combining championships of tradition with new tournaments in the cities and countries of the future. The European Tour International Schedule, which from 2009 has incorporated The Race to Dubai, is a thriving global brand which, in 2014, will feature a minimum of 48 tournaments spread across all five continents of the world; the European Challenge Tour focuses on the up and coming players of the future; while the European Senior Tour provides a new start for champions celebrating their 50th birthday. The European Tour’s corporate identity features the iconic silhouette image of six-time Open Champion Harry Vardon who gives his name to The Harry Vardon Trophy, presented to the player who is crowned European Tour Number One and winner of The Race to Dubai at the end of the season.