Thomas Bjorn’s European team show their strength in singles to retain Eurasia Cup after thrilling final day in Malaysia
China’s Li Haotong impresses again with victory but Asia fail to hold lead over a strong European team that is expected to form basis of Ryder Cup squad
Team Asia suffered a series of crushing defeats in the singles matches of the Eurasia Cup on Sunday as Europe rallied to win the third edition of the tournament in Malaysia.
Asia held a surprise lead going into the final day’s play at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club but the European team fought back to overturn the point deficit, winning eight of the day’s 12 individual match-ups and halving another to retain the trophy with a 14-10 win.
One of the few bright spots for the Asian Tour golfers on the final day’s play was China’s Li Haotong who won the final pairing of the day, beating Paul Dunne 3&1.
Wasn't the result #TeamAsia wanted but we came up against a very strong @eurasiacup #TeamEurope Congratulations EuropeOn a personal note, very happy to have won 2.5 points for the team. #FunWeek #BringOnTheNextOne pic.twitter.com/2QBMzM1fSV
— Haotong Li (@haotong_li) January 14, 2018
It was an impressive debut at the Eurasia Cup for the 22-year-old. He also won his pairs game with Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung in Saturday’s foursomes and hit the putt that ensured Asia finished in the lead for the first time in tournament history on Friday’s first day of fourballs.
World number 59 Li is China’s top-ranked PGA golfer and finished third at the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale last year.
The other Asian golfers to win on Sunday were Thailand’s Poom Saksansin and Japan’s Yuta Ikeda, the highest ranked member of the team on the world rankings at 36. South Korean debutant Kang Sung-hoon halved his match.
Despite the loss Asia became the first team to lead the tournament for the first two days.
— Asian Tour (@asiantourgolf) January 14, 2018
Europe won the 2016 edition of the tournament dubbed the “Ryder Cup of the East”, with the first in 2014 ending in a 10-10 tie.
Europe’s team captain Thomas Bjorn will hope that his side’s victory carries over to his Ryder Cup captaincy in France in September.
It’s expected that at least six of his 12-strong team in Malaysia will be selected by the Dane for the 42nd edition of Europe’s best golfers taking on their American counterparts.