Royal Trophy goes east in play-off

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JOSE Maria Olazabal’s Europe lost the Royal Trophy to Asia after a sudden- death play-off in Brunei yesterday.

South Korean KT Kim sank an eight-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole and then saw Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts miss from five after the teams had tied 8-8.

Under Ryder Cup rules, Europe would have retained the trophy as holders. But, in this competition, four players go out on the course again in a fourball and it was Kim and YE Yang against Colsaerts and Francesco Molinari.

The victory looked unlikely when Asia lost the four opening foursomes by three points, but they were only one behind going into the final day singles. Colsaerts and Henrik Stenson both won on the final green and Molinari’s brother Edoardo came back from three down with five to play to halve with Wu Ashun.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano birdied the last to share the spoils with Kim but wins for Yoshinori Fujimoto over Marcel Siem, Jeev Milkha Singh over Miguel Angel Jimenez and then, in the final game, Yang over Molinari set up the shoot-out. The final day action was limited to seven singles rather than the expected eight, playing captain Olazabal withdrawing with a neck injury and a half being agreed with Thai golfer Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Asia’s second win in the sixth edition of the annual contest drew a “Gangnam Style” celebratory dance from the team’s Japanese captain, 
Joe Ozaki.