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Title for Team Asia

Shenzhen: Team Asia comprehensively defeated ‘big brothers’ Japan 16.5-7.5 to clinch the inaugural Phoenix Dynasty Cup at the Mission Hill Golf Club Sunday.

It was another fantastic performance by the highly-motivated Team Asia which wanted to prove a point. Japan were clearly the pre-tournament favourites, with the scoreline being predicted at 14-10 in their favour.

But after winning five out of six fourballs on the penultimate day, the Asians never let go on the final day. In the singles, they won eight and lost three while the match between Thongchai Jaidee and Tomohiro Kondo was halved.

Among the Indian stars, Jeev Milkha Singh was a 2 and 1 winner against matchplay expert Katsumasa Miyamoto, Jyoti Randhawa was stretched to the 18th hole by Hirofumi Miyase before winning 2-up, while Arjun Atwal lost to veteran Tommy Nakajima 4 and 2.

Asia required just 4.5 points on the final morning to win the magnificent trophy. They did it with elan and had pocketed it by the time the sixth group finished their match.

Jeev was in dominating form and opened his account on the very first hole with a birdie, and then won the fifth, sixth and seventh to go 4-up. A par on the tenth made him 5-up, at which point he lost his focus a bit.

“By that time, we had already won the tie and I slackened a bit. The wake-up call came on the 15th when Miyamoto almost holed his tee shot and I was just two-up,” said Jeev.

Randhawa found himself up against the Japanese reserve after regular Keiichiro Fukabori pulled out with an upset stomach. Miyase did well and actually went up against twice after they halved the second and third holes with birdies. Randhawa pulled it back to level with birdies within two holes on each occasion.

However, the 30-year-old stepped on the gas winning the 12th and 13th holes in succession to go 1-up and increased the lead when Miyase hit his tee shot into the water on the par-5 16th and all he needed to do was make a simple par.

Miyase was never going to let it go easily and won the 17th with a birdie to stretch the match to the final hole. Randhawa cracked a huge drive and then sank a 25-footer for yet another birdie to the delight of the grandstand.

Atwal looked off colour with his putter again despite hitting some great shots off the tee. Nakajima, winner of 59 titles worldwide, went ahead after chipping in from the back of the green on the fourth, and Atwal missed a par putt from three feet to make a three-putt bogey on the fifth. On the seventh, nakajima holed a 15-footer for birdie.

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