Team Captains aim to inspire from the front

Wed 26 Mar 2014

Team Captains aim to inspire from the front

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Kuala Lumpur, March 26: Captains Thongchai Jaidee and Miguel Angel Jimenez have opted to lead their teams from the front in the opening fourball matches at the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM starting on Thursday.


With every intention of striking the first blow for their respective teams, Thongchai will pair up with reigning Asian Tour number one Kiradech Aphibarnrat for Team Asia and will face Spaniard Jimenez and countryman Pablo Larrazabal for Team Europe in the top match at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
Danes Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen will face Japanese duo Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara in the second showdown, followed by the third fourball match between Frenchman Victor Dubuisson-Dutchman Joost Luiten and Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng and Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar will step into battle with Anirban Lahiri where they will face Spaniard Gonzalo Fdez-Castano and Stephen Gallacher of Scotland while Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung will team up with Korea’s Kim Hyung-sung against Graeme McDowell and Jamie Donaldson in what is poised to be a thrilling fifth and final fourball match for the home fans.
Thongchai, a three-time Asian Tour number one, hopes to inspire his team by winning his match with Kiradech. “I have to see every group, that's the most important. Our team is ready to play. We’ll try to win some points but it’s difficult to tell. We’ll be trying our very best. We’ll have to do it for our team. We want to win the trophy.”
The veteran Thai believes all the fourball matches will be closely-fought affairs. “I think tomorrow, the match is very close. I think it will be a good chance for both teams. I think my team, I like them to be relaxed and have some fun and enjoy the tough games. If you play well, you win the trophy.”
Kiradech expects the top match to go the distance. “It will be a tight match. You know, Thongchai is in the top-50 in the World Ranking and playing solid golf at the moment, so we have a lot of confidence to win the first match, the first point for the Asian team.”
Jimenez, a 20-time winner on the European Tour, hopes to land the first blow for his team.  “It's going to be a tough match. You know, Pablo and myself, we are playing well and we know how they are playing, and with Kiradech, they are playing very solid. I think to put myself in the first group, I can see how the rest of the groups are doing. Obviously Thongchai is thinking the same thing and we are face-to-face tomorrow. We will see, let the golf clubs do the talking tomorrow.”
The veteran Spaniard believes his European side will rise to the occasion and continue the continent’s success in team events where they are also the reigning Ryder Cup holders. “When you play a team event like this one, you know, like this EurAsia Cup, you play with a partner; you play for yourself; you play for your team; and you play for your continent. The pressure is different.  When you miss a shot, it's not only you, it's about your family.”
Local hero Fung, a captain’s pick for Team Asia, could not contain his excitement after being drawn against Major winner McDowell and Donaldson, the current Race to Dubai number one.
Fung, 24, said: “When they announced the draw, I was so excited to play against G-Mac and Donaldson. Kim has been playing well and I am feeling good. I want to thank Thongchai for putting me in the last match.  He wanted to get the crowds to follow me on the last group.”
Kim, who finished second on the Japan Tour money list last year, is looking forward to partnering the Malaysian rising star. “We have never played or competed with each other, so I think tomorrow as we play 18 holes together, hopefully it will be shorter, but as we play 18 holes, we'll mesh together and we'll have a big combination. We're looking forward to playing this match, and hopefully it's a fun match and hopefully we'll get it done in a very quick fashion.”
Lahiri believes Team Asia’s desire to trump Team Europe in the first showdown could give them the edge. “We are hungry to go out there and just to make a name for our country and continent. I wouldn't be surprised if we win this trophy.”
The EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. Professional Golf Malaysia (PGM) will act as the local facilitator for the event.
Keep up to date with the EurAsia Cup at www.eurasiacup.com, www.facebook.com/eurasiacupgolf and @EurAsiaCupGolf.
Thursday’s Fourball Draw (Team Europe first)
8:40am: Miguel Angel JIMENEZ/Pablo LARRAZABAL vs Thongchai JAIDEE/ Kiradech APHIBARNRAT
8.55am: Thomas Bjorn/Thorbjorn OLESEN vs Koumei ODA/Hideto Tanihara
9.10am: Victor DUBUISSON/Joost LUITEN vs  Prayad MARKSAENG/SIDDIKUR Rahman
9.25am: Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO/Stephen GALLACHER vs Gaganjeet BHULLAR/Anirban LAHIRI
9.40am: Graeme MCDOWELL/Jamie DONALDSON vs KIM Hyung-sung/Nicholas FUNG
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. Also, to provide 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. Last year (2013) PGM hosted 22 tournaments offering prize money of over RM4 million, nine of which were co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour and three with the ASEAN Tour.
The schedule for 2014 features 25 tournaments offering prize money of over RM5 million, twelve of which are again 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.
For further information, please log in to http://pgmtour.blogspot.com/
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 2013, will feature a minimum of 45 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.