Europe make strong start in EurAsia Cup


Europe took charge of the EurAsia Cup by storming into a 4 1/2-1 1/2 lead over Asia at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Malaysia.

The inaugural tournament at the same venue ended in a 10-10 tie and European captain Darren Clarke said the second edition was "too close to call" with hot and humid conditions favouring the hosts.

Europe looked very much at home on day one of the competition, though, as Ian Poulter and Bernd Wiesberger beat Anirban Lahiri and Wang Jeung-hun 4 and 3 in the first of six fourballs on Friday.

Ross Fisher and Kristoffer Broberg then sealed an emphatic 6 and 4 victory over Prayad Marksaeng and K.T Kim in match four to double Europe's advantage.

An Byeong-hun and Thongchai Jaidee pulled off a terrific fightback to reduce the deficit to 2-1 by getting the better of Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick 3 and 1.

But Shane Lowry and Andy Sullivan were 2 and 1 winners over Wu Ashun and Shingo Katayama to restore Europe's two-point cushion.

Home duo Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung had to settle for half a point against Soren Kjeldsen and Victor Dubuisson, who was troubled by a knee injury on the back nine.

Lee Westwood and Chris Wood then gave Europe further breathing space heading into the weekend courtesy of 2 and 1 triumph over Kiradech Aphibarnrat and SSP Chawrasia in the final match. 

Clarke, who will captain Europe in the Ryder Cup later this year, said: "It's a wonderful start for Europe. There were a lot of matches there where it could have swung either way on the back nine. 

"Halfway round, Europe were leading in all the matches. I was on the radio to a few of the other guys and said, this is match play, Asia are going to come back at some stage on the back nine, and that's exactly what they did.

"We had a strong couple matches and managed to finish with a very good result."