Asia retain narrow EurAsia Cup lead

Thailand's Poom Saksansin plays a shot for Team Asia who took a surprise lead over Europe in the Eur Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. — AFP

Thailand's Poom Saksansin plays a shot for Team Asia who took a surprise lead over Europe in the Eur Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. — AFP

Thomas Bjorn's European team trail Asia 3½-2½ after the opening day's fourballs action in Kuala Lumpur.

The team captained by Arjun Atwal of India won three of the six fourball matches and halved their final game to take a 3 1/2 to 2 1/2 lead over the European side skippered by Thomas Bjorn.

"It feels great", said Casey, who has returned to the European Tour to play in the Ryder Cup.

Ross Fisher Tyrrell Hatton bt S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind) & Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 5 &.

Europe did manage to fight back as the rounds progressed, with the English pairing of Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey putting the team on the board with a 4 and 3 victory over South Korean An Byeong-un and Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the first match.

It was certainly a tough opening session.

The Englishman will join up with Austria's Bernd Wiesberger on Saturday to take on Nicholas Fung and Li Haotong, the latter of whom holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th on Friday to steal a half point at the last and an overnight lead for Team Asia.

But Green and Ikeda claimed a thrilling win over Rafa Cabrera Bello and Alexander Levy, securing three of the final four holes.

However, Hideto Tanihara and 18-year-old Phachara Khongwatmai put Asia back in front with a 2-up victory over Alex Noren and Paul Dunne, leaving it to Cabrera-Bello and Wiesberger to ensure the champions headed into the weekend on level terms.

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.

"I've been talking to the guys all week that we expect them to come out firing", said Bjorn. Fleetwood and Stenson are widely regarded as some of the top ball strikers in golf, having both ranked inside the top five in the world in strokes gained tee to green over the last two years, so the Asian side will have to be on top form to stop this European pair. The rust had been knocked off the golf swings in practice and maybe the competitive rust might have needed to be knocked off today. "We are taking this very seriously, so the score you see on the leader board right now is not through complacency ... they have played some wonderful golf to be in this position".

He better hope so, or his Ryder Cup dress rehearsal could be a complete a flop.