EurAsia Cup: Asia win session but Europe lead 7-3

STEPHEN GALLACHER had to settle for a share of the spoils in today’s foursomes at the EurAsia Cup after a topsy-turvy match in Malaysia.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Stephen Gallacher walk off the first tee during the foursome matches. Picture: GettyGonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Stephen Gallacher walk off the first tee during the foursome matches. Picture: Getty
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Stephen Gallacher walk off the first tee during the foursome matches. Picture: Getty

But, despite Asia winning the session 3-2, Gallacher and his team-mates will head into tomorrow’s concluding singles in Kuala Lumpur with a 7-3 lead.

The double Dubai Desert Classic champion again joined forces with Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano after their 4 and 3 fourball win as Europe took a 5-0 opening-day lead.

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And they were on course to deliver another point for Miguel Angel Jimenez’s side when standing three up with eight to play.

Their opponents, Japanese pair Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara, then won four holes out of five from the 11th to edge ahead.

And it took a Gallacher birdie at the 17th, where the double Dubai Desert Classic champion rolled in a six-footer, to secure a half in the end.

After the opening-day whitewash Asia regained some measure of pride by winning today’s session at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.

Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand and Korea’s Kim Hyung-sung put Asia on the board with a commanding 4 and 3 win over Danes Thomas Bjørn and Thorbjørn Olesen.

India’s Anirban Lahiri holed a pressure-packed seven-foot par putt at the last hole as he and partner Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh hung on for a one-hole victory over Dutchman Joost Luiten and Victor Dubuisson of France.

The top match also went the distance with Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal holing a six-foot birdie attempt on 18 as he and captain Miguel Angel Jiménez salvaged a halve with Asian captain Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand.

Europe’s lone win came through former US Open champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and Welshman Jamie Donaldson who fought back from two down through eight holes to defeat Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung and Gaganjeet Bhullar of India 2 and 1.

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Europe needs only three and a half points from the ten singles matches tomorrow to lift the first EurAsia Cup.

But, after today’s improved performance, Thongchai is hoping for a ‘miracle in Malaysia’, in the style of Europe’s unforgettable 2012 Ryder Cup comeback, when went into the last day singles four points behind the United States.

“Our team played very well today, caught up some points,” said Thongchai. “Really happy with three points. Seven and a half points to win …. In golf, you never know. We have another day. I told my players to make something happen.”

Jiménez was pleased his men produced two points on the day when red numbers featured prominently in the opening stages of the foursome session.

“It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow,” warned the Spaniard. “The tournament is still alive at 7-3. We are not used to this weather, and they have a good team. We’ll try to get the points as soon as possible.”

Jimenez will face Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung in the opening singles while Gallacher has been handed the anchor role by his captain and is up against Siddikur Rahman.

Friday’s Foursome Results (Team Europe first)

Miguel Angel JIMENEZ/Pablo LARRAZÁBAL halved with Thongchai JAIDEE/ Kiradech APHIBARNRAT;

Prayad MARKSAENG/KIM Hyung-sung bt Thomas Bjorn/Thorbjorn OLESEN 4 & 3;

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Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO/Stephen GALLACHER halved with Koumei ODA/Hideto TANIHARA;

Anirban LAHIRI/SIDDIKUR Rahman bt Victor DUBUISSON/Joost LUITEN 1 hole;

Graeme MCDOWELL/Jamie DONALDSON bt Gaganjeet BHULLAR/Nicholas FUNG 2 & 1

Tomorrow’s Singles Draw (Team Europe first)

8:40am: Miguel Angel JIMENEZ vs Nicholas FUNG

8.52am: Graeme MCDOWELL vs Thongchai JAIDEE

9.04am: Thomas BJORN vs Kiradech APHIBARNRAT

9.16am: Jamie DONALDSON vs Prayad MARKSAENG

9.28am: Pablo LARRAZÁBAL vs KIM Hyung-sung

9.40am: Victor DUBUISSON vs Anirban LAHIRI

9.52am: Thorbjorn OLESEN vs Gaganjeet BHULLAR

10.04am: Joost LUITEN vs Koumei ODA

10.16am: Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO vs Hideto TANIHARA

10.28am: Stephen GALLACHER vs SIDDIKUR Rahman