Shah Alam, Malaysia: Team Europe maintained their dominance at the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM as Darren Clarke’s men opened up a six-point advantage over Team Asia after Saturday’s foursomes session.
England’s Ian Poulter, together with compatriot Danny Willett, secured the continent’s first point in the top match as Europe earned 4 ½ points for the second day running to extend their advantage to 9-3.
But it was not all plain sailing for Clarke's team, who were trailing in four of the day's six matches when Poulter and Willett reached the turn. Poulter, who along with Bernd Wiesberger delivered the visitors' first point in the fourball matches on Friday, was on song again as he and Willett beat Byeonghun An and Thongchai Jaidee 3 & 2.
Shane Lowry and Andy Sullivan combined to deliver a point for the second day in succession, beating Shingo Katayama and Prayad Marksaeng 3 & 2. Wiesberger and Ross Fisher recovered from losing the first hole to beat K.T. Kim and Jeunghun Wang by two holes, while Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick cruised to a 5 & 4 win over Anirban Lahiri and Wu Ashun.
Victor Dubuisson and Søren Kjeldsen finished all square in their match with Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung for the second straight day while Kristoffer Broberg and Chris Wood lost by two holes to Kiradech Aphibarnrat and S.S.P. Chawrasia in match three.
Clarke, who will also captain Europe in the Ryder Cup in September, is refusing to let his guard down although Europe need only 3 ½ points from 12 singles matches on Sunday to win the EurAsia Cup, which was tied 10-10 in the inaugural edition two years ago.
“I go back to Brookline in 1999 when we had a big lead and lost. We obviously have a commanding lead right now, but there’s still a lot of golf to play tomorrow against a very strong Asian team. So under no circumstances will we underestimate the challenge that we still have to do. But at the same time I’m obviously delighted for the team that we are in this position.
“There’s no hands on any trophy in any golf tournament until you finish the last hole on a Sunday afternoon. I have been in the game too long to know that, whether it’s a stroke play or a team tournament. I think we’re probably in for another exciting day tomorrow again.”
Poulter, a captain’s pick, was delighted to produce a second point for Europe alongside Willett.
He said: “We played very nicely. We spoke after about five holes, and said it’s all about keeping the pressure on. Don’t give anybody anything – any little window or any little door – and that’s exactly what we did today. We drove it well, and put it in play and only missed a couple of shots between us all day. We holed a couple of nice putts and had them under pressure right from the start.”
Europe 9 Asia 3
Saturday’s Foursomes Results (Team Europe first)
Ian Poulter/Danny Willett bt Byeonghun An/Thongchai Jaidee 3 & 2
Bernd Wiesberger/Ross Fisher bt K.T. Kim/Jeunghun Wang 2-UP
Kristoffer Broberg/Chris Wood lost to S.S.P. Chawrasia/Kiradech Aphibarnrat 2-UP
Shane Lowry/Andy Sullivan bt Prayad Marksaeng/Shingo Katayama 3 & 2
Soren Kjeldsen/Victor Dubusison and Danny Chia/Nicholas Fung halved
Lee Westwood/Matthew Fitzpatrick bt Anirban Lahiri/Wu Ashun 5 & 4
Sunday’s Singles Matches (Team Europe first)
Match 1: 8.35am Ian Poulter vs Danny Chia
Match 2: 8.45am Danny Willett vs Byeonghun An
Match 3: 8.55am Andy Sulliva vs Thongchai Jaidee
Match 4: 9.05am Matthew Fitzpatrick vs Kiradech Aphibarnrat
Match 5: 9.15am Shane Lowry vs Anirban Lahiri
Match 6: 9.25am Bernd Wiesberger vs K.T. Kim
Match 7: 9.35am Lee Westwood vs Nicholas Fung
Match 8: 9.45am Ross Fisher vs Jeunghun Wang
Match 9: 9.55am Chris Wood vs S.S.P. Chawarasia
Match 10: 10.05am Kristoffer Broberg vs Shingo Katayama
Match 11: 10.15am Victor Dubuisson vs Wu Ashun
Match 12: 10.25am Soren Kjeldsen vs Prayad Marksaeng