EurAsia Cup: Anirban Lahiri, SSP Chawrasia Lose as Europe Lead by Three Points
Europe grabbed four-and-a-half points against Asia's one-and-a-half after most of the Asian players were found wanting on the putting green at the EurAsia Cup. Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia are India's representative in the Asian team ,along with non-playing captain Jeev Milkha Singh
Anirban lahiri and SSP Chawrasia lost their respective matches as Europe out-putted Asia to grab a three-point lead on the opening day of the second EurAsia Cup at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club here on Friday. (EurAsia Cup: Anirban Lahiri to Compete in First Group, SSP Chawrasia to Play with Kiradech Aphibarnrat)
The visitors grabbed four-and-a-half points against Asia's one-and-a-half after most of the Asian players were found wanting on the putting green.
However, Asia's non-playing skipper Jeev Milkha Singh said he was positive about the next two days. Lahiri summed it up quite well for the region saying, "We were outputted today." He said that about his match, but it was an apt overall analysis of the day.
Asia's lone winning point came from the 2014 captain Thongchai Jaidee, who was partnering the 2015 European Tour's Rookie of the year, Korean Byeong Hun An. The duo beat Danny Willet and Matthew Fitzpatrick 3&1 with a fine run at the end.
Local pair, Danny Chia and Nicolas Fung hung in till the end to snatch a vital half point against Soren Kjeldsen and Victor Dubuisson, who over the last few holes carried on despite locking his knee.
The match was a birdie fest on the back nine as the Europeans made three by Dubuisson, and the Asians had six birdies, of which four were by Fung. But it was Chia who holed a tense three-footer to halve the point.
Lahiri Opened Indian Challenge
From an Indian point, Lahiri, who with young Jeunghun Wang, opened the Asian challenge against Ian Poulter and Bernd Wiesberger, ended on the losing side 4&3.
A three-hole stretch immediately after the turn swung the match decisively in the favour of Poulter and Wiesberger, who never loosened the grip.
SSP Chawrasia, who played well with Kiradech Aphibarnrat, holed a few nice long putts, but Lee Westwood, a nine-time Ryder Cup player, and Chris Wood nailed vital putts towards the end, including one of the par-five 16th and win 2&1.
'Team Did Well'
Jeev maintained that the team did not do badly. "Our boys played well. In fact players like Lahiri and Wang hit some great shots, but where we came short was putting. That's what they are working on."
Lahiri said "I think we both hit it really well but we just didn't make any putts. I think I missed a short one on sixth. That was a gift. And I think we kind of lost the momentum. It was a very tight match, but they just made more putts than us. Both of us, we only made three birdies today and you don't win matches with that."
His younger partner, Wang, seemed more severe on himself, saying, "It was exciting but I putted really bad today. I feel sorry for Anirban."
Turning Point of Match
Poulter, who eagled the 11th and birdied the 12th, said, "You know, what the turning point in this match was around the turn, 10, 11, 12 . (We) Holed a couple of putts, which is always handy in this format. It normally makes the difference. Those guys really didn't hole anything, and that's the turning point."
Chawrasia and Kiradech staged a fine comeback from two-down after six, against Westwood and Wood. They levelled to All Square by 10th but lost the 12th and 16th and with it the match.
Willett endured a back niggle for some time, till he and Fitzpatrick, were steamrollered at the finish by Thongchai and Byeong Hyun An. It was the Asians who went into the lead on the par-three fifth, at which point, Thongchai had birdied three of the five holes.
But Willet's two birdies and one from Fitzpatrick made the score 2-up for the Europeans. Trailing by two, Byeong pulled one back on the 11th with an eagle, which he termed as the turning point.
Then almost single-handedly, he outplayed the Europeans winning four holes in a row from 14th to 17th, leaving the rivals standing and closing the match 3&1.
Byeong said, "Jeev came up and said, 'You are the best player in the world. You can win this match. From there we actually did." Results: Four-ball pairings for Day 1: (European names first) Poulter & Wiesberger bt Lahiri and Wang 4&3; Willet and Fitzpatrick lose to Byeong and Thongchai 3&1; Dubuisson and Kjeldsen halve with Chia and Fung; Fisher and Broberg bt Marksaeng and Kim 6&4; Lowry and Sullivan bt Katayama and Ashun 2&1; Westwood and Wood bt Chawrasia and Kiradech 2&1.
Draw for Foursomes: Pairings: Foursomes: Poulter & Willet v Byeong An & Thongchai; Wiesberger & Fisher v Kim and Wang; Broberg & Wood v Chawrasia & Kiradech; Lowry & Sullivan v Marksaeng & Katayama; Kjeldsen & Dubuisson v Chia & Fung; Westwood & Fitzpatrick v Lahiri and Ashun.