Malaysian duo Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung earned the praise of Team Asia’s captain Jeev Milkha Singh for fighting tooth-and-nail for a vital half point against Victor Dubuisson and Soren Kjeldsen in the Fourball session at the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM on Friday.
The local heroes dug deep in their match at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, with Fung responding magnificently with a chip-in birdie on 17 after Kjeldsen had done likewise to keep the match all square before Chia got up-and-down for a nerve-jangling par to earn Team Asia a morale-boosting halve as Europe ended the session leading 4 ½ to 1 ½.
The third match of the opening day proved to be the most exciting and was the only one from six matches which went all the way down the 18th hole.
Chia, a two-time Asian Tour winner, said: “It’s very important, it’s very vital because it could come down to just one single point, winning or losing. Nicholas and I just tried our best not to lose any point. If we got a half-point, it’s great. We didn’t hit it that great.”
After partner Fung missed the green on the last, Chia conceded he made a mental error by attacking the pin with the European duo scrambling for a par as well. “I realised I played the wrong shot. I took the wrong club. You know, when I walked to the ball and I saw my ball position next to the green, I almost wanted to kill myself!
“Honestly it’s the wrong shot to play. I was so focused on the shot that I wanted to play, I totally forgot how tight that pin location was. And Nicholas had already missed the green on the left and with that pin, you can’t miss left, you can’t miss right.”
The 25-year-old Fung was ecstatic to get a halve point after being winless in his EurAsia Cup debut two years ago when Asia and Europe fought to a thrilling 10-10 draw.
He pulled off the crucial chip-in birdie on the penultimate hole to keep the match all square.
“I was thinking of using my putter but he (Kjeldsen) chipped it in, so I told my partner that I have nothing to lose and will chip it. It was a better chance because there was some fringe and there was some slope,” said Fung.
“It was very good and we are very lucky to play until the last hole. I have to thank my partner for making that up-and-down, I know it was a very tough lie from there,” he added.
Singh, a two-time Asian Tour number one, celebrated animatedly when he watched Fung hole out on the 17th green and hailed Chia’s par-save on the last green, saying it was the most nervous he had been for a long time.
“I’ve never celebrated like that. I think it was just fantastic to watch. Even when I won the Scottish Open, I don’t think I had that kind of a response or I could say that kind of feeling. It was just fantastic to watch.
“I think I just ran up to him (Fung) and gave him a high-five. I hope it wasn’t too hard to injure him his right hand,” laughed Singh.
“That chip by Danny on the 18th hole was one of the toughest chips I can say but he chipped it and holed the putt, half point there. I think both of them combined really well. They know each other’s games well so I’m happy with them.”
Singh will pair the Malaysian heroes again for the Foursomes session on Saturday where they will face the same opponents.
Kjeldsen, a four-time European Tour winner, was happy to earn the half point as his partner Dubuisson battled on with a knee injury. “That was a great match. None of us really gave anything away. I thought, you know, we got the advantage after I chipped in on 17, but he (Fung) made a great chip there. It was a really good match. Victor plays like a rock star. He is a rock star. I just love playing with him,” he said.