Asia retain narrow EurAsia Cup lead

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Asia has bucked the odds to lead defending champion Europe 3 1/2 to 2 1/2 after the opening day of the EurAsia Cup golf in Kuala Lumpur.

An ecstatic Arjun Atwal, Asia's captain said, "I have said from the beginning that this team is capable of winning and I have believed in them".

It is the first time Asia heads into tomorrow's singles with a lead, which while being slender is a massive mental boost for them.

With Asia holding the lead on a day of constant drizzle, Li Haotong earned the biggest cheer for the men in red after he birdied the final hole of the final fourball match for he and Nicholas Fung to force a draw against Europe's Bernd Wiesberger and Rafa Cabrera Bello. "I noticed that every single pairing was comfortable with each other". The only exception was the pair of Sunghoon Kang and Poom Saksansin, who felled Henrik Stenson and Alex Levy.

The pair notched up three birdies on the final four holes for a one-hole victory over Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello and Alexander Levy of France.

The next six holes were well fought and halved three of them with birdies, but the Europeans nailed crucial putts and did not allow the Asians to reduce the gap and romped home 3&2 for their first point of the day.

Gavin Green and Yuta Ikeda, Asia, def. Matthew Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters, Europe, 2 and 1.

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They now lead the competition which is being held at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club with six-and-a-half points after two days, while Team Europe also added three points to settle with five-and-a-half points.

"We feel like we knew we could find ourselves in this position, and we knew this Asian team is very strong and very much ready to play".

Europe were firmly in control in the early stages Saturday and Asia, who started the day a point ahead, saw their lead vanish as skipper Thomas Bjorn's side won the first three matches.

Another English pairing, Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton, then tied the scores with a 5 and 4 win over Indian duo of Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P Chawrasia.

Asia's third point came via veteran Hideto Tanihara and teenage star Phachara Khongwatmai, who held off a late surge by Alex Noren and British Masters champion Paul Dunne.

"We're not underestimating this team by any means", said Casey, who won his match with Fleetwood and is representing Europe for the first time in nearly a decade.