Europe overcome Asia to win Royal Trophy in dramatic style
Europe overcome Asia to win Royal Trophy in dramatic style, Graham Barr reports
Europe overcame a four-point deficit to claim the Royal Trophy on the final day in a thrilling finish to the week’s golf.
Jose Maria Olazabal’s European team started the day trailing 5-3 after a poor first couple of days.
In the first of the singles matches, Kiradech Aphibarnrat beat Paul Lawrie 3&2 and Thongai Jaidee beat Stephen Gallacher 4 &2. The defeats for the Scottish pair left the Europeans 7-3 behind with a huge mountain to climb.
Marc Warren started the comeback when he claimed victory over Ryo Ishikawa, but even at that stage it still looked like the trophy would end up in the Asian teams’ hands for a second year in a row.
David Howell then pulled off a stunning victory against HS Kim with birdies at the 15th and 16th getting him back to all square before he won the match down the last with a brilliant up and down from a green-side bunker.
Alvaro Quiros then halved his match with KT Kim and Thorbjorn Olesen ensured the victory was still possible with victory against Wu Asham.
An impressive performance on the back nine, which included two birdies, helped Bernd Wiesberger to a 3&2 victory over Hiroyuki Fujita.
With the competition all tied up, the winner was decided in the final match of the day between Nicolas Colsaerts and Liang Wen-Chong.
Colsaerts went 1up with three holes to play and after Wen-Chong missed a chance to level at 16, the big-hitting Belgian closed the match out on the 17th to ensure the trophy would be going back with the Ryder Cup to Europe.
The stunning turnaround meant a victory of 8 ½ – 7 ½ and was reminiscent of Olazabal’s Ryder Cup success at Medinah where he masterminded one of the greatest comebacks in Ryder Cup history.
Asian captain, Y.E Yang will undoubtedly be disappointed with the loss; at 7-3 ahead, the tournament was fully in their hands and they should have been able to see out the rest of the day and retain the trophy they won in 2012.