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Asia take surprise lead over Europe in EurAsia Cup

Asia take surprise lead over Europe in EurAsia Cup

Yuta Ikeda and Gavin Green kept up the momentum to beat Thomas Pieters and Thomas Fitzpatrick 2 and 1. "I'm very pleased with their pairing and everything that has been leading up to it and the way they have delivered", said Atwal. "We have got to go out and put some blue on the board and try to win the singles".

A 3-2 victory for England's Matthew Fitzpatrick and Belgium's Thomas Pieters against Thailand's Poom Saksansin and South Korea's Kang Sung-hoon extended Team Europe's lead to two points.

"I don't want to ever sound cocky with a team like Europe, and I'm not going to get cocky, but it's a great start", Asia captain Arjun Atwal said.

"I am looking forward to the singles".

"You saw how early on, everybody was kind of down and losing a few matches early". "If you asked me if I'm surprised or shocked, I'm not".

As golf in Asia continues to grow at a rapid rate, the amount of players from the region making a positive impact on tours around the world points to a bright future for the sport and adds credibility to the EurAsia Cup.

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The biennial matchplay event, being held at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, offers Bjorn's European team, defending the EurAsia Cup, ideal preparation ahead of September's Ryder Cup at Le Golf National against holders the United States. "We are slightly disappointed with the outcome today but I'm sure we can rise to what's ahead of us tomorrow", said Bjorn.

English pair Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton clawed back some ground for Team Europe with a win over Indian duo Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P Chawrasia, before Japan's Hideto Tanihara and Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai scored a two-hole triumph over Sweden's Alex Noren and Ireland's Paul Dunne.

Kang and Poom started with eight successive birdies and went five up in the first seven holes.

The teams now face off each other in 12 singles, with local Nicholas Fung going out first against Alex Noren and Asia's clutch putting star, Li Haotong takes on Irishman rookie Paul Dunne in the closing match.

Team Europe led in that last match standing on the 18th tee but a brilliant birdie at the last from Li stopped Bjorn's men from heading into the weekend on level terms.

Li and Fung were 2-up after the turn but Team Europe bounced back superbly to lead 1-up in their match when they birdied, eagled and birdied the 10th, 11th and 12th holes respectively before Li holed a 15-feet birdie on the 18th hole to snatch a late draw.