Shah Alam, Malaysia, January 15: Thongchai Jaidee and Byeonghun An lived up to their top billing for Team Asia by securing a convincing 3 & 1 win over Danny Willet and Matthew Fitzpatrick as Team Europe raced to a three-point lead after day one of the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM.
Thongchai and An, ranked 27th and 29th in the world respectively, fought back from 2-down at the turn to clinch a morale boosting point for Team Asia at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
Europe dominated the Fourball session early in the day before the Thai and Korean combo fought back with a vengeance, with An nailing an eagle and three straight birdies on his back nine to seal the point.
“We were 2-down and I looked at the board and it was all blue. I didn't care about the other guys, because I know they’ll do well, and the first thing that came to my mind was we had to win our match,” said the 24-year-old An, who was named European Tour Rookie of the Year in 2015.
“But even when we were down, I still had confidence as Thongchai is obviously a good player. We make a great team. He can take care of me when I hit a bad shot and I can cover when he hits a bad shot.”
Thongchai’s three birdies on the outward nine kept the Asian pair in the match before An’s brilliance took over. Captain Jeev Milkha Singh has retained the winning partnership, sending them out in the first match against Ian Poulter and Danny Willett for Saturday’s Foursomes session.
Thongchai was pleased to strike a strong partnership with An and is confident they can continue their winning ways. “I enjoy playing with my partner (An). I know his game and he knows mine. So that’s important. I’ve more experience and will guide him along but overall, we work very well together,” said Thongchai.
The power-packed An said captain Singh kept the team’s spirit up despite the wave of blue scores early on day one.
“We saw him a couple times. He always mentioned to us, ‘we are the best players in the world.’ That gave me a lot of confidence. Even when we were losing, he says ‘you guys are the best team and you will do well and you guys are champions,’” said An.
“He definitely has 100 per cent belief in us. Definitely that gives me a lot of confidence. Even when we were losing, definitely those are great things to hear and that gave me a lot of boost and confidence. I heard it on No. 11 before my eagle putt, and since that eagle putt, I think I played quite well the last eight holes.
Singh was delighted his decision to pair Thongchai, the only player to win three Asian Tour Order of Merit crowns, and An paid off handsomely. “An and Thongchai, the way they came back on the back nine was fantastic to watch. I think they did an excellent job, and you know, once they won, it rubbed off on Danny (Chia) and Nicholas (Fung).
“I’ve paired them again as obviously they played well and are high on confidence. I want them to go out first and start the momentum,” said Singh.
DRB-HICOM Berhad is one of Malaysia’s leading conglomerates with core businesses in the Automotive and Defence; Services; and Property, Asset & Construction sectors. With more than 90 active companies in its stable and over 60,000 employees group-wide, DRB-HICOM’s aim is to continue adding value and propelling the nation’s development. In the Automotive and Defence sector, DRB-HICOM is involved in the manufacturing, assembly and distribution of passenger and commercial vehicles, including composites component supply for aircrafts. In Services, DRB-HICOM is involved in various businesses, including concession and financial-related services. In Property, Asset & Construction, DRB-HICOM is involved in residential and commercial developments.
About Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM)
Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) is a Company Limited by Guarantee, registered on 5th August 2010 in Malaysia. As a non-profit organisation, PGM’s objectives are to promote the sport of golf and to contribute towards its enjoyment and growth as well as to conduct and/or coordinate training on golf-related courses in order to enhance the playing capabilities and hone the skills of professional golfers in Malaysia. Our ultimate goal is to produce good Malaysian Professional Golfers in time for the Olympics in 2016 and to see Malaysians in the world ranking list. The PGM Tour provides a platform for Malaysia’s professional golfers to enable them to focus on playing while PGM shoulders the responsibility of arranging and financing these tournaments. For further information, please log in to http://pgmtour.com.my
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include FENIX Golf (Official Apparel Supplier), Fuji Xerox (Official Office Solutions Partner), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com
About The European Tour
The European Tour is committed to celebrating the game of golf from the origins of the professional game, building a proud history of achievement, sportsmanship and integrity as well as showcasing our diverse global talent and rich landscapes. The European Tour's innovative approach enables us to embrace the world, combining championships of tradition with new tournaments in the cities and countries of the future. The European Tour International Schedule, which from 2009 has incorporated The Race to Dubai, is a thriving global brand which, in 2015, will feature a minimum of 48 tournaments spread across five continents; the European Challenge Tour focuses on the up and coming players of the future; while the European Senior Tour provides a new start for champions celebrating their 50th birthday. The European Tour’s corporate identity features the iconic silhouette image of six-time Open Champion Harry Vardon who gives his name to The Harry Vardon Trophy, presented to the player who is crowned European Tour Number One and winner of The Race to Dubai at the end of the season.