Asia stages improbable EurAsia Cup comeback, evens score
Asia staged an improbable Ryder Cup-like comeback on the final day of the EurAsia Cup on Saturday, picking up seven of 10 points available in singles to level the score at 10-all and share the trophy with Europe.
Asia, trailing 7-3 going into the final day, briefly took the lead at 9 1/2-8 1/2 before Joost Luiten beat Koumei Oda 1-up to pull the Europeans level.
The final match between Asia’s Hideto Tanihara and Europe’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano then finished all square.
Tanihara sank an eight-foot putt to halve the 17th after Fernandez-Castano eagled the 16th to even the match.
On the 18th, Tanihara had a chance to give Asia the win but his birdie putt was a foot to the left. Fernandez-Castano then holed a three-footer to halve the hole, their match and the Cup.
It was a familiar scenario for Europe – both good and bad.
The Europeans came back from a 10-6 deficit in the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah, Illinois, to win by a point. But they also blew a 10-6 lead on the final day in 1999 at Brookline, outside Boston, to allow the Americans to win.
The Europeans had a strong team at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur despite missing some of the bigger names who will help defend the Ryder Cup against the United States at Gleneagles, Scotland, from Sept. 26-28.
Europe, which led 5-0 after the opening fourball competition Thursday and by four points after Friday’s foursomes, only needed 3 1/2 points Saturday to clinch the trophy.
But the Asians won six of the singles matches and halved two others in their comeback.
Asia captain Thongchai Jaidee beat Graeme McDowell 3 and 2 in his match, joining Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Kim Hyung-sung, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Anirban Lahiri and Siddikur Rahman as winners for Asia.
Europe captain Miguel Angel Jimenez defeated Nicholas Fung 1 up, but his win was one of only two by his side on Saturday. Luiten’s victory was the other.
Europe’s Jamie Donaldson was 4-up after nine holes against Prayad Marksaeng, but had to settle for a draw.