Local heroes Danny Chia, Nicholas Fung and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand earned the respect of their Team Asia teammates after wearing their hearts on the sleeves at the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM on Sunday.
Team Europe, who led 9 – 3 after dominating the fourball and foursomes sessions, were too strong in the 12 singles matches as well at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club and cruised to a 18 ½ to 5 ½ win over Asia.
Chia and Fung had produced memorable Fourball and Foursome performances where they earned half points for Team Asia but were defeated by Ryder Cup experts Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood in the singles, losing 4 & 3 and 7 & 6 respectively.
Kiradech, the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, showed immense team spirit when he played through a shoulder injury against Matthew Fitzpatrick of England before losing by 2 holes.
Chia, who raised eyebrows when he responded “Ian who?” after he was asked about his singles match-up on Saturday, hit only three birdies in his loss to captain’s pick Poulter, who won all his three matches this week.
“He told me he is Ian Poulter,” laughed Chia. “I felt it was just down to putting. I thought that he was more deadly with the putting compared to me. I’m a bit erratic,” said Chia, a two-time Asian Tour winner.
Poulter said: “It was good fun out there actually. It was nice to get off first and obviously the boys put a lot of blue on the board straight afterwards. I had kind of a bit of a laugh on the last green with him (Chia) and kind of said my name and said thanks, and he kind of laughed. We had a good match.”
Kiradech was lauded by his teammates and captain Jeev Milkha Singh for teeing up against Fitzpatrick despite nursing a shoulder strain which required on-course treatment on several occasions.
“This morning, if I pulled out before the tee off, the point would go to Europe. I didn’t want to let the point get away from me if I did not do anything. Jeev has worked so hard for me and for our team. I just wanted to go out and try even if I’m going to lose the point,” said Kiradech.
Fung, featuring in the his second EurAsia Cup, stood tall despite the match play lesson at the hands of former world number one Westwood, who also won three matches at Glenmarie.
“I played okay and of course, I played with the former number one and a match-play king. He really played well. It has been a good experience and I’m happy with the way I played. More importantly Danny and I contributed one point to the team,” said Fung.