Asia wins Royal Trophy in playoff

South Korea’s K.T. Kim made an 8-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff Sunday to lift Asia past Europe in the Royal Trophy.

After the teams finished singles play tied 8-8, Kim and countryman Y.E. Yang edged Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts and Italy’s Francesco Molinari in the fourball playoff at The Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Colsaerts had a chance to match Kim’s birdie but missed a 5-footer.

Yang forced the playoff, beating Molinari 2 and 1 in the final singles match.

After falling behind 3-1/2 to 1/2 on Friday in the opening foursomes, Asia cut it to 4-1/2 to 3-1/2 in fourball play Saturday and tied it with 4 1/2 points in the closing singles. Europe leads the series 4-2.

India’s Jeev Milkha Singh pulled Asia even at 7-7 with a 1-up victory over Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez, and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson restored Europe with 1-up decision over Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa. Yang then finished off Molinari with a halve on the 17th to send the competition to the playoff.

European playing captain Jose Maria Olazabal withdrew from his scheduled match against South Korea’s Bae Sang-moon because of a neck injury, with each team receiving a half-point.

Because Asian captain Naomichi ”Joe” Ozaki selected Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat to sit if a European player withdrew, Bae ended up taking Kiradech’s spot against Colsaerts, a match Colsaerts won 1 up when he took the par-5 15th with an eagle and halved the final three holes with pars.

In the other matches, Kim and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano halved, Japan’s Yoshinori Fujimoto beat Germany’s Marcel Siem 1 up, and China’s Wu Ashun halved with Italy’s Edoardo Molinari.