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Golf: Europe extends lead over Asia Pacific

IANS| Updated: Mar 27, 2014, 23:56 PM IST

Bangalore: A dominant Europe consolidated their lead for a 12.5-7.5 advantage over Asia Pacific at the end of the second and penultimate round of the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy amateur golf competition here Thursday.

Europe, who led 6-4 overnight after first round of fourball and fourseomes, stepped up the pressure to move into a winning position with a round of 12 singles matches to be played Friday.

Going into the second round of fourball, Europe won four of the five matches Thursday morning and two of the five fourseomes in the afternoon with Asia Pacific winning two and halving the other.

Starring in Europe`s triumphant march on the second day were the pairs of Germans Max Roehring and Dominic Foos, and Spaniard Mario Aquila along with Italian Renato Paratore, both combos winning two matches apiece.

For Asia-Pacific, it was the Australian tandem of Geoff Drakeford and Taylor MacDonald that won both their matches while Japan`s Kenta Konishi and Daichi Sato scored over Irishman Gavin Moynihan and Dane Mads Soegaard for the other win.

The foursome contest between Scotland`s James Ross and Finn Albert Eckhardt of Europe and Asia Pacific`s Karan Taunk (India) and Joshua Munn (New Zealand) was halved.

European non-playing captain Andy Morgan from Wales said: "Asia-Pacific team was in the same kind of situation seven years ago and they won the tournament on the final day. So I am worried about it this year as well. As per our strategy, we are going to focus on winning the maximum singles matches tomorrow."

Starting in the morning, overnight stars Ashley Chesters and Ryan Evans from England, who celebrated his 27th birthday Thursday, kept the momentum going in the morning by winning from the Korean duo of Nam-Hun Kim and Soo-Min Lee by the narrow margin of 1-up at the end of 18 holes.

Apart from the powerhouse duo of Drakeford and MacDonald, who defeated Irish Dermot McElroy and Moynihan of team Europe 3 and 2 to earn one point in the morning session, no other morning match went in the favour of the Asia-Pacific team.

The Aussies, who have been the anchor pair of the Asia Pacific side since the beginning of the tournament, won their afternoon match as well by beating the stars pairing of Chesters and Evans 2-up.

Drakeford said: "It was easier to win the morning matches because in the afternoon we knew Ashley and Evans are not easy to beat. After halving the first hole, we really had to avoid mistakes and the first nine holes were smooth.

"The trouble started on the back nine when Ashley and Ryan birdied the 10th and 11th and we only went ahead when they made a bogey on 13th and we made par to go one ahead.

"We stayed ahead all the way after that but coming down the final hole there was a lot of pressure on us till we hit the approach shot five feet from the hole which clinched the point for us."

Brad A. Schadewitz, vice-captain of Asia-Pacific Team, said: "I have to compliment our Australian boys who beat the best pair of Europe. We have been facing tough competition from day one by not holing enough crucial putts.

"Our Korean boys Nam-Hun Kim and Soo-Min Lee were also great as they made 14 birdies in both the sessions and will continue to do some great work tomorrow."

Morgan said: "It`s been a harder afternoon as a couple of turnarounds in the afternoon didn`t allow us to take our point total really high. Our boys went into trouble, sand bunkers and trees on the last 2-3 holes at the end of the afternoon and we can`t afford that kind of sloppy finish tomorrow."

It was a commendable performance by Roehrig and Foos who beat Chinese Zechang Dou and Jin Cheng in morning 2-up, defeated Jin Cheng and Chieh-Po Lei of Taipei in the afternoon with the same score.

Aguilar and Peratore also stayed unbeaten in both the sessions by beating Japanese Kenta Konishi and Hong Kong`s Shinichi Mizuno 3 and 2 and Nam-hun Kim and Soo-Min Lee by the score of 1-up in afternoon.