Asia fight back to share EurAsia Cup with Europe

AFP| Last Updated: Mar 29, 2014, 14:24 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Team Asia pulled off a stirring comeback in the final round of the inaugural EurAsia Cup to snatch a share of the trophy by taking six of 10 singles matches played Saturday.

The spectacular collapse of Team Europe, who entered the final day singles matches 7-3 up, was one no one had expected, despite Asia`s marvellous fightback on the second day when they clawed their way back into contention after a 5-0 thrashing in the four-balls on Thursday.

It had echoes of Europe`s "Miracle of Medinah" at the last Ryder Cup in 2012 when they fought back from 10-6 down on the final day to beat the Americans 14.5-13.5.

The outcome will go some way towards helping raise the profile of a tournament clouded by a war of words between its organisers and those who stage the rival Royal Trophy competition.

None epitomised Asia`s desire more than Thailand`s Prayad Marksaeng who fought back from four down after the first nine, to halve with world number 28 Jamie Donaldson in the fourth match-up of the day at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, Kuala Lumpur.

With the European players unable to find their range, Asia drew level at 8.5 after winning five of the opening seven ties and halving one.

Only European captain Miguel Angel Jimenez held his nerve as he edged Malaysian Nicholas Fung at the last hole when the local youngster could only lip out his final putt after splendidly going toe-to-toe with the Spaniard through 17 holes.

That miss would eventually prove the difference, but Fung`s performance gave his teammates a big boost.

Asia got their points when captain Thongchai Jaidee defeated Major winner Graeme McDowell 3 and 2. Reigning Asian number one Kiradech Aphibarnrat then beat Thomas Bjorn 2 and 1.

After Marksaeng halved with Donaldson, Asia got more points when Kim Hyung-Sung beat Pablo Larrazabal 4 and 2, Anirban Lahiri edging Victor Dubuisson 2 and 1 and Gaganjeet Bhullar thrashing Thorbjorn Olesen 4 and 3.

Asia went into the lead for the first time in the contest at 9.5-8.5 when Siddikur Rahman outplayed Stephen Gallacher 4 and 3, only for Joost Luiten to edge Koumei Oda on the final hole.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Hideto Tanihara were left to battle for the trophy and were all square after 14 holes.

The pressure nearly took its toll on Fernandez-Castano on the 15th hole when he missed a two-foot putt to hand the advantage to his 35-year-old opponent.

He redeemed himself on the next hole with an eagle and the two players failed to get the better of each other in the remaining two holes.

The players and officials held a moment of silence for the passengers and crew of missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight before Prime Minister Najib Razak presented the prizes.

Najib also confirmed Malaysia will host the next two editions of the EurAsia Cup in 2016 and 2018.