Kuala Lumpur: Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri played inspirational golf and won their respective matches as Team Asia produced a dramatic 10-10 tie against Europe in the inaugural EurAsia Cup, on Saturday.
Bhullar outplayed Europe’s upcoming star and world No. 66 Thorbjorn Olesen 4 & 3, while Lahiri won his second point of the event, edging aside world No. 23 Victor Dubuisson, the second highest world ranked player in the rival team 2 & 1.
The Asians came back from 0-5 on the first day and 3-7 on the second day, winning six of the 10 singles, losing just two and halving the other two for a 7-3 verdict in singles. That led to a 10-10 result, bringing in memories of Europe’s own comeback from four points against the US at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah.
Lahiri, draped in an Indian tricolour on the 18th while waiting for the final pair to come, won two points for Asia.
“I thought we could do a Europe on them this year (Europe coming back to beat US in Ryder Cup). Maybe, do a Medinah in Malaysia. Yes, it was absolutely superb that we could fight back like this,” he said.
“I think Thongchai masterminded the draw, I think that was one of the key factors today. When I was on the back nine, it was inspiring for me to see how the rest of the team was fighting. And I think that brought the best out in me coming down the stretch.”
Bhullar summed up the team feeling aptly, saying, “There was a time that guys used to say that we were from Asia, do you have a tour. Now people know that the Asian Tour players are the players from Asian continent are going to be the next superstars.”
He added, “I think it’s a great moment for Asian golf because it’s put us on the map and I know a lot of people will now take notice of ten of us and the Asian Tour.”
Thongchai started the stunning fight-back by beating Ryder Cup hero Graeme McDowell 3 & 2 and after five further wins for Asia, the entire contest came down to the match between Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara.
After Thongchai’s win McDowell, the 50-year-old Jimenez drew on all of his experience to a win over 23-year-old Malaysian wild card Nicholas Fung with a birdie on the 18th.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat recovered from one down with four to play to birdie the next two holes and a par on the 17th was enough to seal a 2 and 1 victory over Thomas Bjorn.
Kim Hyung-sung defeated an off-form Pablo Larrazabal 4 & 2 and Prayad Marksaeng, who at one point was 4-down rallied superbly and then almost snatched a remarkable win over Jamie Donaldson with a birdie on the 18th. (PTI)