Captain Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain leads Team Europe to a 5-0 win over Team Asia on the opening day of the inaugural EurAsia Cup at the Glenamarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur. – AFP Photo / Paul Lakatos / Asian Tour
SUBANG: Team Europe crushed Team Asia in the fourball play on the opening day of the inaugural EurAsia Cup at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
The experienced Europeans thrived on the Ryder Cup-style format to outclass the Asians 5-0 in their own backyard and climatic conditions.
The only semblance of a match was between Team Europe’s Graeme McDowell-Jamie Donaldson against South Korea’s Kim Hyung-sung and Malaysian Nicholas Fung.
Playing in the fifth and final match of the day, Hyung-Sung and Nicholas led three-up by the seventh hole against 2010 US Open champion McDowell and Donaldson. But the Asians blew up on the back nine to eventually lose 3 & 1.
Team Europe captain Miguel Angel Jimenez led the way, partnering fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal to a 2 & 1 victory over Team Asia captain Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
The Danish pair of Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen grabbed the second point for the Europeans when they beat Japanese Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara by two holes.
Victor Dubuisson and Joost Luiten then overcame Prayad Marksaeng and Siddikur Rahman 3 & 2 and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, the third Spaniard in Team Europe, and Stephen Gallacher of Scotland completed a 4 & 3 win over Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar for a 4-0 lead.
Jimenez, who had two eagles and three birdies in his round, said they could not have asked for a better start.
“Yeah, I can’t get anything better than that really. I started my match with Pablo and played well today. I don’t think there is a better way to lead a team.
“I don’t think anybody scored lower than me today. I was delighted with how I played personally but it was also really satisfying to see all the boys playing so well,” he said.
The 50-year-old Jimenez will persist with the same pairings for Friday’s foursome format.
“You don’t want to change anything that is working. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. It’s a completely different format to the fourball,” he said.
Thongchai acknowledged Jimenez’s team were the better side.
“Europe were very strong today. Kiradech and I played well and we must have been eight-under but he (Jimenez) was about 11-under. Jimenez didn’t miss anything,” said Thongchai.
“We’ll try again tomorrow and we will change our game plan. We will work really hard and try to earn some points before the singles,” he added.
Anirban said the Europeans’ match play experience gave them the upper hand.
“We must look at this as a learning curve and just get on with the job. We need to narrow the score on the second day to have a chance at winning the title. It is not that we all played badly but the Europeans were just a shade better today,” added Anirban.