Team Asia team stunned their more fancied European opponents by taking a 3½ – 2½ lead after the first day fourballs of the 2018 EurAsia Cup at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club.
The Asian side had never led in the past two editions of the EurAsia Cup but the impressive fourballs performance showed that the current team is ready and able to challenge for a first win.
Korea’s Byeonghun An and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat suffered a 4&3 defeat to the English pair of Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey in the opening match.
However, the tide was immediately turned with Malaysia’s Gavin Green combining effectively with Japan’s Yuta Ikeda in the second match to beat Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick 2&1.
Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara then landed another blow to Team Europe’s title defence by defeating Sweden’s Alex Noren and Ireland’s Paul Dunn by two holes.
The biggest upset of the day came when Korea’s Sunghoon Kang and Thailand’s Poom Saksansin brought down Major winner Henrik Stenson and France’s Alexander Levy comprehensively with a 5&4 victory.
India’s Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia struggled against Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton, losing 5&4 to the English duo.
It was China’s Li Haotong and Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung who completed a memorable day for Asia when Li sunk a 15-foot birdie putt on 18 to halve their match with Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello.
Team Asian captain Arjun Atwal was thrilled with his team’s start and believes a relaxed attitude will continue to be the key to success this week.
“I’m really happy about today’s results and how the day went especially Li Haotong’s match. That was very important for me as that half point was really a psychological boost for the team.
“The players in my team are all champions and they know what to do to win. All I want them to do is to stay relaxed and continue to have fun tomorrow,” said Atwal.
Results (Europe first, winners in bold):
Paul CASEY / Tommy FLEETWOOD vs Byeong Hun AN / Kiradech APHIBARNRAT – 4&3
Matthew FITZPATRICK / Thomas PIETERS vs Gavin GREEN / Yuta IKEDA – 2&1
Alex NOREN / Paul DUNNE vs Hideto TANIHARA / Phachara KHONGWATMAI – 2-up
Alexander LEVY / Henrik STENSON vs Poom SAKSANSIN / Sunghoon KANG – 5&4
Bernd WIESBERGER / Rafa CABRERA BELLO vs Haotong LI / Nicholas FUNG – all square
Ross FISHER / Tyrrell HATTON vs Anirban LAHIRI / SSP CHAWRASIA – 5&4