Malaysia's Nicholas Fung (left) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat pose with the EurAsia Cup trophy at the Glenmarie GCC, the venue for the Ryder Cup-style golf tournament between Team Asia and Team Europe starting on Thursday. - AFP
SUBANG: Reigning Asian Development Tour No. 1 Nicholas Fung is ready to put in a performance worthy of his status as Malaysia’s highest-ranked golfer in the inaugural EurAsia Cup this week.
And since the three-day tournament will be held at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club (from Thursday), Nicholas hopes to take full advantage of his familiarity with the course to lead Team Asia to victory.
The EurAsia Cup will see Team Asia taking on Team Europe in a Ryder Cup-style clash. Team Asia will be led by Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and Team Europe will be captained by Spanish great Miguel Angel Jimenez.
“I’m happy to see a new event like this on the schedule and I’m glad to be a part of it. It benefits the players here in Asia and I hope to see it grow in the next few years. It’s a good opportunity to gain experience and bring my game up another level as we get to play against the European players,” said the 23-year-old Nicholas, who won the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit title last year.
“I’ve played at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club a few times. The greens are firmer and faster compared to years ago. Overall, the course is looking good and it is not too long. Hopefully, it will be an advantage for us.”
Picked as the captain’s wild card, Nicholas is also determined to repay the faith shown by Thongchai and his entourage of family members who have arrived from Sabah to lend their support.
“My parents, relatives and sponsors are all here to support me this week. My form has been good since last year, so I hope I can continue with my good form this week,” said Nicholas.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat is also determined to experience the highs of last season in the country where he has enjoyed his most successes.
“When I see this event on the schedule, I feel very proud that we have a Ryder Cup-like tournament here in Asia. I’m happy that the younger golfers like me get a chance to play in this kind of tournament. I look forward to seeing the Asian Tour grow to be like the European Tour and PGA Tour,” said Kiradech.
The 24-year-old won the prestigious Asian Tour Order of Merit last year, thanks to his second Asian Tour title at the Malaysian Open. He followed up that victory with a joint-third finish at the CIMB Classic in October, also in Malaysia.
Having enjoyed several top-10s in Malaysia since making his professional debut in 2008, Kiradech is banking on this “feel-good” factor to steer Asia towards victory over Europe this weekend.