Europe hit the front

Last Updated 26 March 2014, 19:51 IST

Favourites Europe flexed their muscles in crisp afternoon sunshine to open up a 6-4 lead against Asia-Pacific on the opening day of the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy here on Wednesday.

Trailing 2-3 after morning’s fourballs, five-time champions Europe cashed in brilliantly on their experience of foursomes, seizing it 4-1 and with it the day’s honours at the Karnataka Golf Association.

“We were disappointed after the morning session but the guys played some excellent golf to drive home the advantage,” said Europe’s non-playing captain Andrew B Morgan. “At lunch the boys were very motivated and it’s nice that they were able to perform so well. Our strategy tomorrow is to win both the sessions which will give us some breathing space for Friday’s singles battles.”

Favourites on paper, thanks to the amount of experience at their disposal, Europe got off the blocks in sizzling fashion when Englishman Ashley Chesters and compatriot Ryans crushed the Australian duo of Geoff Drakeford and Taylor MacDonald 6&5 in balmy morning sun.

That win appeared to set the tone for an European smooth ride on the carpet-like fairways and slick greens of KGA but Asia-Pacific bounced back quickly, showing that they were not going to be easy picking. Koreans Nam-hun Kim and Soo-min Lee scored a 2&1 win over Mario Galina Aquilo and Renato Paratore before Japanese golfers Kenta Konishi and Diachi Sato ripped apart James Ross and Mads Soegaard to put Asia-Pacific 2-1 ahead.

The advantage soon became 3-1 when Zecheng Dou and Lee Chieh-Po edged out Max Roehrig and Dominic Foos 1-up as the Asians basked in the familiar conditions and some sloppy play from the Europeans. However, the defending champions ended the fourballs session 2-3 with the Irish pair of Gavin Moynihan and Dermot McElroy beating India’s Karan Taunk and Joshua Munn of New Zealand 1-up.

Stage set

The stage was set for a fine afternoon duel and with the temperature too rising, an unlikely Asia-Pacific lead at the end of the day seemed imminent when Drakeford and MacDonald defeated Albert Echardt and Robbie Van West 6&5 in the opening foursomes.

However, the English pair of Chesters and Evans, like their brilliant act in the morning, completed another scorching win, ripping apart Nam-hun and Soo-min 5&4 to halt the Asia-Pacific momentum. Roehrig and Foos brought things on an even keel after beating the formidable Konishi and Sato 3&2. Paratore and Aguila, trailing by three after eight holes, scored a fine 1-up win over Shinichi Mizuno and J Munn.

After finding the water body with the tee shot on the par-5 9th, Europe salvaged a superb par while Asia-Pacific bogeyed despite finding the green on their third shot. That comeback win seemed to spur on the final pairing of Moynihan and McElroy, and they dished out some steady golf to defeat  Zecheng and Jin Cheng 3&2, giving the Europeans the opening day honours.

Results (Day One): Europe lead Asia 6-4. Fourballs: Ashley Chesters/ Ryan Evans bt Geoff Drakeford/ Taylor MacDonald 6&5; Mario Galiano Aquilo/ Renato Paratore lt to Nam-hun Kim/ Soo-min Lee 1&2; Max Roehrig/ Dominic Foos lt to Zecheng Dou/ Lee Chieh-Po 1-up; James Ross/ Mads Soegaard lt to Kenta Konishi/ Diachi Sato 4&5; Gavin Moynihan/ Dermot McElroy bt Karan Taunk/ Joshua Munn 1-up.
Foursomes: Albert Echardt/ Robbie Van West lt to G Drakeford/ T MacDonald 5&6; A Chesters/ R Evans bt Nam-hun K/ Soo-min L 5&4; M Roehrig/ Dominic Foos bt K Konishi/ D Sato 3&2; R Paratore/ MG Aquila bt Shinichi Mizuno/ J Munn 1-up; G Moynihan/ D McElroy bt Zecheng D/ Jin Cheng 3&2.

(Published 26 March 2014, 19:51 IST)

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