KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Europe grabbed a good lead over Asia in the EurAsia Cup by 4 1/2 to 1 1/2 after the opening day at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club on Friday.
Bernd Wiesberger and Ian Poulter notched five birdies and an eagle to beat Anirban Lahiri and Wang Jeung-hun 4 and 3 in the first fourballs match, then Kristoffer Broberg and Ross Fischer doubled that advantage.
The 6 and 4 victory over Kim Kyung-tae and Prayad Marksaeng looked to put Europe in cruise control, but the Asians came back through Byeong Hun-an and Thongchai Jaidee, who upstaged Danny Willett and Matthew Fitzpatrick 3 and 1.
Europe, however, regained a two-point advantage thanks to a 2 and 1 success through Shane Lowry and Andy Sullivan.
Despite the local cheers for Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung, who took turns trading birdies on the back nine to earn Asia half a point, Lee Westwood and Chris Wood made sure Europe ended the day on a high by beating Kiradech Aphibarnrat and SSP Chawrasia 2 and 1.
"We know we are in the driving seat after today, but we need to keep up this performance," Sullivan said. "We all know what happened the last time, and what the Asian team are capable off."
At the inaugural event in 2014, Asia trailed Europe 5-0 on the opening day, before storming back to force a 10-10 draw and share the trophy.
Thai stalwart Thongchai, who captained the team in that tournament, was confident a good showing on Saturday will set the tone for another remarkable comeback.
"Tomorrow will be very important," Thongchai said. "If we get some points and score some in the singles, it will make for a great spectacle. Our team are quite well set up for Asia to make a comeback."