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Seve Ballesteros predicts close Royal Trophy

Europe captain Seve Ballesteros expects Royal Trophy hosts Asia to be firing on all cylinders when the second edition of the Ryder Cup-style team event starts on Friday.

The holders take on Asia in a series of 16 matches of fourballs, foursomes and singles over three days at the Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok.

"We are looking forward to strong competition from the Asian team as it would be tremendously meaningful for them to win at home," Ballesteros told the tournament's official Web site (www.theroyaltrophy.com).

"There is no doubt they will put up a highly spirited fight (but) our European team take the match very seriously as there is great pride at stake."

Ballesteros, who has a unique record of Ryder Cup, Seve Trophy and Royal Trophy wins as skipper, predicted a feast of good golf in Thailand.

"The winners above all will be the golf fans of Europe and Asia who will witness a fantastic three days of team golf," said the Spaniard.

Ballesteros's team includes Swedes Johan Edfors, Niclas Fasth, Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson, British trio Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Anthony Wall and Irishman Paul McGinley.

Asia, captained by Naomichi "Joe" Ozaki, will be represented by Thai trio Thaworn Wiratchant, Prom Meesawat and Thongchai Jaidee, Japan's Toru Taniguchi and Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Yang Yong-eun and SK Ho of South Korea and India's Jeev Milkha Singh.

Europe won last year's inaugural event 9-7.

Ballesteros's side enjoyed a healthy 6-2 lead going into the singles but were given a fright when Asia picked up five victories out of eight on the final day.

The competition is to be played in Thailand for the next four years to honour the Diamond Jubilee of the trophy's donor, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The venue will alternate between the two continents after 2010.



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