Asia leads Europe by 1 point after first day of EurAsia Cup

Gavin Green of Malaysia reacts after putt at 15th hole during the four-ball matches of the 2018 EurAsia Cup golf tournament at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)
Tyrrell Hatton of Britain hits on the 8th hole during the four-ball matches of the 2018 EurAsia Cup golf tournament at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)
Li Haotong of China watches his shot on the 8th hole during the four-ball matches of the 2018 EurAsia Cup golf tournament at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)
Matthew Fitzpatrick of England tees off on the 17th hole during the four-ball matches of the 2018 EurAsia Cup golf tournament at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)
Yuta Ikeda of Japan hits a ball to the green on the 16th hole during the four-ball matches of the 2018 EurAsia Cup golf tournament at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Asia bucked the odds and led defending champion Europe 3 1/2 to 2 1/2 after the opening day of the EurAsia Cup on Friday.

With Asia holding the lead on a day of constant drizzle, Li Haotong earned the biggest cheer for the men in red after he birdied the final hole of the final fourball match for he and Nicholas Fung to force a draw against Europe's Bernd Wiesberger and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Asia seeks its first win in the third EurAsia Cup.

"I don't want to ever sound cocky with a team like Europe, and I'm not going to get cocky, but it's a great start," Asia captain Arjun Atwal said.

"I noticed that every single pairing was comfortable with each other. That was my main goal this week, to just go out there and have fun."

Asia trailed heavily on the first day of the previous competitions in 2014 and 2016, and lost the first match at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club when Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey beat Kiradech Aphibarnrat and An Byeong-hun 4 and 3.

But the Asians leveled through Kang Sung-hoon and Poom Saksansin, who overcame Henrik Stenson and Alexander Levy 5 and 4.

Kang and Poom started with eight successive birdies and went five up in the first seven holes. They secured victory on the 14th hole to send a surge of confidence through the Asian team.

Yuta Ikeda and Gavin Green kept up the momentum to beat Thomas Pieters and Thomas Fitzpatrick 2 and 1.

Green, who clinched the Asian Tour Order of Merit last month, clinched the match with two birdie putts in the final three holes to give Asia its second point.

Europe drew level when Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton brushed aside S.S.P. Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri 5 and 4.

But Asia went back in front thanks to Hideto Tanihara and teenager Phachara Khongwatmai, who beat Alex Noren and Paul Dunne by two holes.

Captain Thomas Bjorn promised Europe will return stronger in the six foursome matches on Saturday.

"I suspect that we'll go out tomorrow and be ready to play, and foursomes is a very different game," Bjorn said.

"We feel like we knew we could find ourselves in this position, and we knew this Asian team is very strong and very much ready to play."

Must Read

Fortunes can change quickly in the world of golf

Oct 25, 2017

Johnson, Matsuyama, Rahm lead the field at HSBC Champions in final World Golf Championship of the...

Chawrasia leads in Hong Kong by 1 stroke

Nov 25, 2017

S.S.P. Chawrasia shot a 1-under 69 in the third round for a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open

Siniakova beats Sharapova to reach Shenzhen Open final

Jan 5, 2018

Defending champion Katerina Siniakova beats Maria Sharapova in Shenzhen Open semifinal to set up...

Fiji crushes NZ 50-7 to roll into Hong Kong 7s quarters

Apr 7, 2018

Fiji has crushed New Zealand 50-7 to complete pool play unbeaten at the Hong Kong Sevens

Vettel takes pole in China, and Ferrari looks like it's back

Apr 14, 2018

Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari will be on pole position for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix as he looks...

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.

Contact us: sales[at]aseancoverage.com