Stunning Asian fightback sees EurAsia Cup end in draw
Posted on Mar 29 2014 | IANS
Kuala Lumpur, March 29 : A stunning fightback from Team Asia saw the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM end in a 10-10 draw after a thrilling final day at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club Saturday.
Trailing 3-7 overnight going into the singles session - and having been 0-5 behind after the first day's fourball session - not many gave Thongchai Jaidee's team much hope of turning matters around.
But they did just that, winning the session 7-3 to see the gleaming silver trophy shared at the end of the day with Miguel Angel Jimenez's European troops.
Hailed as 'The Ryder Cup of the East' before the tournament started, the event certainly lived up to that lofty billing, producing drama of the kind normally reserved only for the biennial contest between Europe and the United States.
In the end, the fate of the EurAsia Cup - with the score tied at nine and a half each - lay in the hands of Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Hideto Tanihara of Japan, whose ding-dong battle saw them all square playing the last hole in the last match on the course.
With both players on the 18th green in two, Fernandez-Castano putted down to four feet while Tanihara's effort stopped a foot and a half from the hole. Under intense pressure, the Spaniard held his nerve to roll his par effort into the back of the cup before sportingly conceding the Japanese player's putt.
"I'm happy the way I performed under pressure but I have to say that was the most nervous I've ever been," said Fernandez-Castano, a seven-time European Tour champion.
"However you just need to look around you at what is going on here. This is big. This is going to be the next big thing in golf and I'm really proud of being part of the first edition."
"Every member of my team was a hero," said Asian captain Thongchai, who got Asia off to the perfect start with a three and two win over 2010 US Open Champion Graeme McDowell.
"Everyone played really well but the match itself was unbelievable. It was a great finish and to end the contest on the final holes in the final match, I've never seen anything like it. It was amazing."
Opposite number Jimenez -- who was one of only two outright winners for Europe when he nervelessly holed an eight foot birdie putt on the final green to beat Malaysian home favourite Nicholas Fung in the first match -- agreed.
"It was tough for us today but it was an amazing day of golf and the Asian team played very well," he said.
"All the European players gave everything they had and I have respect for them all - it was a pleasure to be here with them this week. As I said at the closing ceremony, nobody lost - we both won. For this to be the first edition of the EurAsia Cup that was excellent and I wish all the best for the future."