Europeans primed themselves to extend their eight-year reign of the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy, quelling a good Asia-Pacific fightback in fine fashion here on Thursday.
Seemingly in trouble at during the morning fourballs session, the Europeans staged a comeback to clinch the issue 4-1 before sharing the afternoon’s foursomes 2.5-2.5 to open up a massive 12.5-7.5 advantage on a sweltering second day at the Karnataka Golf Association.
“As a captain, I have to say it was a very satisfying performance from the boys,” said Europe captain Andrew B Morgan. “In the morning it appeared Asia-Pacific were determined for revenge but the boys showed plenty of character to win it.
“A five-point lead is very flattering but we should not take things for granted. Ten years ago in Rome, we were leading by a big margin but Asia-Pacific won the singles’ matches 8.5-3.5 to eventually win the title 16.5-15.5. So we are not going to take anything for granted as we have to perform on Friday as the match is yet to be won.”
Trailing 4-6, Asia-Pacific knew they had to go for the kill if they were to disrupt the Europeans’ rhythm. Taking on the in-form pair of Ryan Evans, celebrating his 27th birthday, and Ashley Chesters, both Nam-hun Kim and Soo-min Lee had a stiff challenge on their hands.
The Koreans, however, took a surprise two-hole lead after eight holes and with rest of their team-mates also doing well in remaining four matches, a comeback did not look likely. But the European duo quickly turned the tide by sealing the issue on the final two holes, winning the match 2-up.
Despite Dermot McElroy and Gavin Moynihan’s 3&2 loss to the Australian pairing of Geoff Drakeford and Taylor MacDonald, the Europeans broke for lunch with a commanding 10-5 lead, thanks to fine victories in the remaining three matches – Max Roehrig and Dominic Foos beat Zecheng Dou and Jin Cheng 2-up, Mario Galiano and Renato Paratore eased past Kenta Konishi 3&2 while James Ross and Albert Eckhardt edged past Chie-Po Lee and Karan Taunk 1-up.
With the pressure on them rising along with the heat, Asia-Pacific did respond a bit better in the afternoon foursomes, but a could only manage a 2.5-2.5 result when a 4-1 result was within their reach. Drakeford and MacDonald won their tussle against Chesters and Evans 2-up but their team-mates faltered. Nam-hun and Soo-min, who were leading by four holes at the turn, surrendered their advantage on the 14th before going down 1-up on the final hole. Konishi and Sato posted a 1-up win while Taunk and Joshua Munn halved their match against James Ross and Eckhardt but left themselves with a mountain to climb in Friday’s singles battle.
Results: Europe lead Asia Pacific 12.5-7.5.
On Thursday: Europe lead Asia Pacific 6.5-3.5. Fourballs: Ryan Evans/ Ashley Chesters bt Nam-hun Kim/ Soo-min Lee 1-up; Dermot McElroy/ Gavin Moynihan lt to Geoff Drakeford/ Taylor MacDonald 3&2; Max Roehrig/ Dominic Foos bt Zecheng Dou/ Jin Cheng 2-up; Mario Galiano/ Renato Paratore bt Kenta Konishi/ Shinichi Mizuno 3&2; James Ross/ Albert Eckhardt bt Chie-Po Lee/ Karan Taunk 1-up.
Foursomes: A Chesters/ Ryan Evans lt to G Drakeford/ T MacDonald 2-up; M Galiano/ R Peratore bt Nam-hun K/ Soo-min L 1-up; G Moynihan/ M Soegaard lt to K Konishi/ Daichi Sato 1-up; M Roehrig/ D Foos bt Jin C/ L Chieh-Poo 2-up; J Ross/ A Echhardt halved K Taunk/ Joshua Munn.