Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Last-gasp Li birdie helps Asia take EurAsia Cup lead

Last-gasp Li birdie helps Asia take EurAsia Cup lead

Europe were firmly in control in the early stages Saturday and Asia, who started the day a point ahead, saw their lead vanish as skipper Thomas Bjorn's side won the first three matches. But in the day's final clash, Li held his nerve to win the 18th hole and halve the match against Rafa and Wiesberger.

With Asia holding the lead on a day of constant drizzle, Li Haotong earned the biggest cheer for the men in red after he birdied the final hole of the final fourball match for he and Nicholas Fung to force a draw against Europe's Bernd Wiesberger and Rafa Cabrera Bello. Europe managed to turn the tide in the afternoon.

"I don't want to ever sound cocky with a team like Europe, and I'm not going to get cocky, but it's a great start", Asia captain Arjun Atwal said.

Europe took an early lead, with Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey defeating Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat and South Korea's An Byeong-Hun for a 4 and 3 win.

"We were both playing really good golf, feeding off each other and just generally had a good time together".

Two down after 11, Pieters and Fitzpatrick levelled the match, thanks to birdies at the 12th and 14th.

They now lead the competition which is being held at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club with six-and-a-half points after two days, while Team Europe also added three points to settle with five-and-a-half points.

Japan's Yuta Ikeda and local favourite Gavin Green extended Asia's advantage with a 2 and 1 triumph over Belgium's Thomas Pieters and England's Matthew Fitzpatrick.

The Asians were 5-up in seven holes and had eight birdies in first eight.

Another English pairing, Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton, then tied the scores with a 5 and 4 win over the Indian duo of Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia.

In the only repeat match-up from Friday, Ireland's Paul Dunne and Swede Alex Noren once again take on Thai young gun Phachara Khongwatmai and Japan's Hideto Tanihara in the foursomes on Saturday, after the Team Asia duo came out on top by two holes on day one.

Cabrera-bello's unbelievable putting into the second nine saw the European pair go from two down to one up in the space of three holes.

"It feels great. I love match play, especially when you have a partner like Tommy Fleetwood", said Casey, who was one of Bjorn's two wild-card selections. But despite leading by one at the 18th tee, Europe could not find a birdie at the last and had to settle for half a point.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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