Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia lose as Asia trail Europe in EurAsia Cup
Indian golfers Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia lost their respective Fourball matches as Team Asia trailed Team Europe by three points on the opening day of the second EurAsia Cup at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Shah Alam (Malaysia) on Friday.
The Darren Clarke-captained Europe won four of the six Fourball matches while the Jeev Milkha Singh-led Asia took one and another ended all square.
Team Europe take the lead
Bernd Wiesberger and Ian Poulter- one of the star performers in Europe's recent Ryder Cup victories- put the visitors' first point on the board after defeating Lahiri and Jeunghun Wang four & three in the top match.
Europe did not have to wait long for their second point, with Ross Fisher and Kristoffer Broberg posting a comfortable six & four victory over Prayad Marksaeng and K.T. Kim in match four as a wave of blue scores dominated the early scoreboard.
Team Asia fought back to take their first point shortly after when Byeonghun An and Thongchai Jaidee, the team's highest world ranked players, completed a stunning turnaround to defeat Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick three & one.
Europe made it 3-1 when Shane Lowry and Andy Sullivan beat Wu Ashun and Shingo Katayama two and one before Soren Kjeldsen and Victor Dubuisson- who was struggling with a knee injury on the back nine- halved their match with home favourites Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung in what was the most thrilling encounter.
Lee Westwood and Chris Wood then beat Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Chawrasia two and one in the last match to round off a successful day for Team Europe.
European captain Clarke was thrilled with his team's start in the EurAsia Cup, which ended in a tantalizing 10-10 tie two years ago.
"It's a wonderful start for Europe. There were a lot of matches there where it could have swung either way on the back nine. Halfway round, Europe were leading in all the matches. I was on the radio to a few of the other guys and said, 'this is match play, Asia are going to come back at some stage on the back nine', and that's exactly what they did," he said in an Asian Tour release.
"We had a strong couple of matches and managed to finish with a very good result."
Jeev, a former two-time Asian Tour number one, was delighted with the team's lone win from An and Thongchai and the half point from battling local heroes Chia and Fung.
"Thinking and going back to two years ago (where Europe led 5-0 on day one), I think this year, we got 1.5 points in the Fourball and I think that's the positive I'm looking at.
"My team played really well. They were just a little unlucky with their putts but that's what the game is all about, whoever holes them, wins. I think they are going to work pretty hard on their putting for tomorrow and the day after," added the 43-year-old.
"An and Thongchai, the way they came back on the back nine was fantastic to watch. I think they did an excellent job, and you know, once they won, Danny and Nicholas also had the momentum on the back nine.
"They holed a few putts, and especially after Soren Kjeldsen chipped in on the 17th, Nicholas chipped in to keep the match all-square. I was right there and enjoyed it. On 18, I think especially, the way Danny hit one of the toughest chips I can say, and he chipped it and he holed the putt, half-point there. I think both of them combined really well."