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Published: 14:32 | 15/1/16

Europe in control at EurAsia Cup


Darren Clarke's Europe hold a three-point lead over Asia following the opening day of the EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.

Europe won four of Friday's six fourball matches to lead 4 1/2 to 1 1/2 and they will be looking to maintain their advantage when play resumes at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.

Bernd Wiesberger and Ian Poulter put the visitors in front by beating Anirban Lahiri and Jeung Hun Wang 4&3 in match one, winning three holes in a row from the tenth and they never looked back.

"It was good golf. We played nice. It's nice to get it done early, as hot as it is out here right now," Poulter said. "Those guys really didn't hole anything, and that's the turning point. If you hole putts from 15, 20 feet, then obviously it makes it very difficult for your opponent."

It did not take long for Europe to double their lead as Ross Fisher and Kristoffer Broberg defeated Prayad Marksaeng and K.T Kim 6&4. The Europeans were four up at the turn before going five clear and they wrapped up victory on the 14th.

"We were really up for the challenge come the first tee, and just kept saying to each other 'come on, let's keep the pedal down, let's just put two balls in play'," Fisher said.

"That's what Clarkey reiterated to us last night at the meeting and that's what we tried to do today - put two balls in play, put two balls on the green and give ourselves looks at birdies. We made a bunch today and we're delighted to be finished early."

Asia reduced the deficit when Byeong-hun An and Thongchai Jaidee overcame Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick 3&1 but Europe were soon 3-1 up when Ireland's Shane Lowry combined with Andy Sullivan to beat Wu Ashun and Shingo Katayama 2 & 1.

Lowry and Sullivan opened a two-hole lead over their opponents at the turn and added birdies at the 13th and 14th to move four ahead, only for Katayama to chip in at the 15th to reduce the gap before a birdie from Wu at the 16th saw the lead cut to two. However, a half at the 17th was enough for the Europeans to take the victory.

The fifth match on course went the distance and in the end there was nothing to separate Søren Kjeldsen and Victor Dubuisson and Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung. The match ended all-square before Lee Westwood and Chris Wood secured Europe’s fourth point of the day with a 2&1 win over Kiradech Aphibarnrat to leave Clarke’s men in a comfortable position at the end of day one.

"It's a wonderful start for Europe. There was a lot of matches there where it could have swung either way on the back nine," Clarke said.

"Halfway around, Europe were leading in all the matches. I was on the radio to a few of the other guys and said, this is match play, Asia are going to come back at some stage on the back nine, and that's exactly what they did.

"We had a strong couple matches and managed to finish with a very good result."

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