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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2009 > European Tour > Royal Trophy > Round 3


Asia clinch Royal Trophy for the first time

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.”

Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal—widely regarded as auditioning for the same role in the Ryder Cup—said the visitors must “learn their lesson from this week”.

“The Asian team have raised the bar and we are going to have to come back angrier and more determined if possible to really beat these guys,” he said.

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 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.

Asia captain Naomichi “Joe” Ozaki received the obligatory dousing in a course lake to celebrate the victory, and said the victory helped compensate for the one-sided defeat he suffered as captain in 2007.

“Asia lost the first two matches and I really wanted to win this time,” he said.

Europe, trailing 6 1/2 to 1 1/2 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.


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