Golf: Europe lead Asia by three points in EurAsia Cup after first day

Golfers Ian Poulter and his teammate Bernd Wiesberger.
Golfers Ian Poulter and his teammate Bernd Wiesberger.PHOTO: EPA

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - The European Team have drawn first blood, seizing a three-point lead on the opening day of the EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Darren Clarke's Europe team won three of the six matches, the Jeev Milka Singh led Asian Team took one, while the other was halved, giving the European Team a 4.5-1.5 points advantage on the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club course.

"It's been a wonderful start to have a three-point lead after day one but then in saying that, there was a lot of matches that could have swung either way over the back nine," said Clarke. "Halfway around Europe was leading in all the matches but then I was on the radio to a few of our back-room guys to say this is match-play and Asia could very well come back at us over the back nine, and that's exactly what they did."

Singh, who competed two years ago in the inaugural EurAsia Cup, admitted that he was like a headless chicken endeavouring to keep abreast of all six matches.

"I was like a chicken without a head and I don't think I have ever covered so many miles in a golf buggy on a day ever before," he said smiling. "My team played really well today and I am very proud of my boys."

England's Ian Poulter and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger secured the first point, winning the opening Fourball encounter in defeating reigning Asian Tour No. 1 Anirban Lahiri of India and Korean Wang Jeung Hun 4 and 3.

Poulter set the tone for the match at the very first hole in sinking a 20-foot birdie putt.

"Bernd and I dovetailed nicely. We put two balls in play for the most part and kept them under pressure," he said.

Europe then gained a second point when England's Ross Fisher and Swede Kristoffer Broberg handed out the biggest defeat of the day, a 6 and 4 drubbing of Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng and Korean Kim Kyung Tae.

Thirteen-time Asian Tour winner Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and 2015 European Tour "Rookie of the Year" An Byeong Hun combined to secure the only Asian victory.

The pair stormed back from 2 down after 10 holes with An birdieing three of the closing four holes in a 3 and 1 success over the all-England pair Danny Willett and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

"Our team is set-up quite well for a fightback and with the Foursomes format it sets up well for an Asian Team fightback," said Thongchai.

There was concern Frenchman Victor Dubuisson may have to retire when he needed on-course medical treatment for an apparent injured left knee on the 16th tee.

Dubuisson and partner Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark were all square at the time over the all-Malaysian pair of Danny Chia and Nicholas Fang.

However the current double Turkish Airlines Open champion stood tall to birdie the 16th but with Chia only taking birdie. Kjeldsen and Fung pulled off great birdies at the par three, 17th for the match to eventually end halved.