Kuala Lumpur: Team Asia got off to disastrous start as Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar were outplayed by the European team which took a 5-0 lead on the opening day of the inaugural EurAsia Cup, here on Thursday.
The upbeat mood in the Team Asia camp on the eve of the inaugural competition was just the opposite at the end of the proceedings on the first day of the three-day event. Expected to provide a close contest in home conditions, the Asian were outplayed as the visiting European team ran up a 5-0 lead, whitewashing the hosts in the fourball competitions.
Leading the Europeans from the front was their skipper Miguel Angel Jimenez, who also put up the day's best individual showing. He was teaming up with Pablo Larrazabal.
They beat Asian skipper Thongchai Jaidee and Asia No. 1 Kiradech Aphibarnrat 2 & 1 and that set the trend for the day. The day's heaviest losers were Bhullar and Lahiri, who lost 4 & 3 on the 15th hole. This was despite Bhullar sinking five birdies, the joint best of the day among Asians along with Kiradech.
But they were up against Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who set the course on fire with an electric second shot that went into the cup from nearly 150 yards out on the fairway. That eagle gave them a 1-up lead and they never relinquished it and went on to win four more holes and lost only once on 14th.
Gonzalo's partner, Stephen Gallacher, too, had an eagle and the pair played very good and efficient golf.
After Jimenez and Larrazabal beat Thongchai and Kiradech 2 & 1, Victor Dubuisson and Joost Luiten secured a 3 & 2 win over Prayad Marksaeng and Kim Hyung-sung, while Fernandez-Castano and Gallacher completed a 4 & 3 win over Lahiri and Bhullar.
The Danish players Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen were taken to the 18th before adding another hole to the 1-up lead they had going to the 18th tee, against Japan's Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara.
Graeme McDowell and Jamie Donaldson trailed by three after seven holes, but came back strongly to beat Nicholas Fung and Kim Hyung-sung 3 & 1.
Lahiri summed up saying, "Well, I guess we have our backs to the wall. There's only way we can move from here. We can't get any worse. We have to hope that the Europeans get a little complacent with the start and we have to up our games and play our best over the next two days, especially tomorrow, try and win at least four of the matches or 3 1/2 points."
He also admitted the team mood was a rather downbeat. "Obviously the meeting in the players team room was quite somber. We have got a lot to think about. We obviously need to bring our A Games tomorrow. Points are still out there and it's up to us to go out and pick up tomorrow and we have to pick our games up, and that's exactly what we're going to do over the next two days. Obviously five-nil is the last thing anyone wants, especially in an event as prestigious as this but there's not much to stay."