RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links


Asia Wins For First Time

January 09, 2009

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Asia clinched its first Royal Trophy match play tournament against Europe on Sunday, winning three of eight singles matches and halving another for a 10-6 victory.

Europe could not make up for Asia's dominance in foursomes and fourball, and Asia earned a convincing win after losses in the 2006 and 2007.

"For Asia to beat Europe, we can show something to the golfing world as we are always No. 3 behind America and Europe," South Korea's S.K. Ho said.

"Now that we've beaten Europe, it's time for us to move up."

The Europe players partly blamed their defeat on lack of match practice following the offseason.

"That's what we have to be prepared to face when we come up against Asia rusty," Denmark's Soren Hansen said. "We have to be ready and prepared, that's they way it is now."

England's Nick Dougherty said captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who replaced Seve Ballesteros while he recovers from surgery on a brain tumor, should not be blamed for the defeat.

"I feel really sorry for Olly because he has done a great job, phenomenal," Dougherty said. "He is going to be a very worthy Ryder Cup captain one day.

Europe, trailing 6½ to 1½ entering Sunday's singles, needed a strong start and Scotland's Paul Lawrie delivered an early win when he beat China's Liang Wenchong 3 and 2.

However Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng beat Spain's Pablo Larrazabal 5 and 4 in a testy encounter in which the pair argued over an out-of-bounds call on the 11th.

Japan's Toru Taniguchi then thrashed Sweden's Niclas Fasth 7 and 6 to clinch the trophy for Asia.