Shah Alam (Malaysia):
Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri snatched a win but Team Asia was throughly outplayed by Darren Clarke’s charged up Team Europe, which lifted the second EurAsia Cup trophy today.
A lead that was three points on Friday evening, doubled to six by Saturday, was further doubled and more to 12 and a half by the end as Europe won 18 and a half to Asia’s five-and-a-half.
With the European team boasting of a whole lot of Ryder Cup hopefuls, young and old, the result was a far cry from 10 -10 tie two years ago at the same Glenmarie Golf and Country Club on Sunday.
Despite the loss, Team Asia captain, Jeev Milkha Singh, said, “I am proud of my boys. They played their hearts out, it was just that things did not go their way on the greens, but I am sure we will be back here in two years time, to give Europe a tough time.”
Clarke, on the other hand, could hardly hide his glee at the stupendous performance of his team.
“The team have played fantastic this week. I’ve thrown a couple of my ideas at them and aside from that, the team bonding that they have had—Lee and Poults, both of them gave 100 per cent.
“For Lee to get the winning point, it’s brilliant. You know what those two have brought to the team room is priceless. They have been very, very good. All the young kids have listened to them. They have all learnt from them. I think it’s been a hugely beneficial week.”
Asia won two singles through Lahiri, who beat Shane Lowry 2&1 and Korea’s KT Kim who beat Bernd Wiesberger 3&2. Korea’s Jangheun Wang halved his match with Ross Fisher. Only three other matches went to the 18th.
Lahiri, who had faltered on the greens on the first two days, finally found rhythm. After halving the first three holes, he won the fourth with a par and the fifth and ninth with a birdie to turn three-up.
Lahiri birdied the 11th, but Lowry trumped him with an eagle before a birdie on 12th reduced the gap to a catchable one hole. A birdie on 15th saw Lahiri pull ahead to 2-up again and he closed the match on the 17th.
Lahiri, despite his personal success on Sunday, said, “It’s been frustrating. I’ve been not close to my best and just haven’t seem to click in the foursomes or fourballs. So, it was nice to get a point today and just play solid.”
“Overall, it’s been a week where the Europeans have really played well. Hats off to them. They have played as they should. And I think we’ve got a lot of talent. We’ve got a lot of potential, and this is going to be a big stepping stone for the future EurAsia Cups for us.”
Then another bogey saw Chawrasia fall two back, only to see Woods’ give back a hole with a bogey par-5 16th. Wood hung on for a 1-up win in a scrappy match.
Chawrasia said, “I kept hitting to the right and just couldn’t putt today. I putted well on Saturday but it didn’t work well today. Still it was a great experience and In enjoyed playing under Jeev.”
The motivation for the Asian team could well be that the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, who gave away the EurAsia Cup to the winning team, committed to Malaysia hosting the third EurAsia Cup in two years time.
On Saturday being told he was up against Ian Poulter, Danny Chia had joked, “Ian, who?”.
The same Poulter gave the Europeans a great start with a 4&3 win. Chia, when asked what the Englishman said at the finish, laughed and said, “He told me his name is Ian Poulter.”
Once Poulter had set the tone, the floodgates opened, Danny Willett beat Byeong Hun An 3&1 and in Match 3 Any Sullivan trounced the 2014 captain Thongchai Jaidee 4&3 to put Europe 12-3 ahead.
Then veteran Westwood, who was in Match 7, finished before others to get the winning point as he raced ahead to demolish Nicholas Fung 7&6, the shortest contest of the week.
Westwood was six-under for 12 holes, with five birdies, an eagle and a bogey and Fung’s only respite was Westwood’s bogeyed on par-five sixth.
Europe kept moving ahead as Matthew Fitzpatrick, who was taken all the way, won 2-up against Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who had severe shoulder pain.
Kristoffer Broberg’s beat Shingo Katayama 5&4 win; Soren Kjeldsen beat Prayad Marksaeng 3&2 and Wood outlasted Chawrasia 1-up and finally Victor Dubuisson, who had been held to halves on first two days, held on for a 1-up win against Wu Ashun.