Europe trail after opening day of EurAsia Cup

Arjun Atwal

Arjun Atwal

Alex Noren and Paul Dunne lost to Hideto Tanihara and Khongwatmai by two holes before Li and Nicholas Fung halved their match with Cabrera Bello and Wiesberger to hand Asia a one-point lead at the end of the opening day.

"It feels great", said Casey, who has returned to the European Tour to play in the Ryder Cup.

Thomas's Bjorn's first session in charge of a European team doesn't bode well for his chances of winning the Ryder Cup this September.

It was followed by the English duo of Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton who beat Team Asia's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand) and An Byeong-hun (South Korea), 2&1 and England's Matthew Fitzpatrick and Belgium's Thomas Pietrers who defeated Thailand's Poom Saksansin and South Korea's Kang Sung-hoon, 3&2.

"You can be underdogs on paper, but once the matches start, it's not that you're playing, you know, a four-day stroke-play event, you're just trying to beat the opponents that you're playing", Atwal said.

"I love match play, especially when you have a partner like Tommy Fleetwood".

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.

The Asians did fight to get even at 10th, but after that the European simply flew past them as Fleetwood added an eagle on 11th after Casey had done likewise on third.

Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood and Sweden's Henrik Stenson gave the Europeans a strong start by beating Indian duo Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia 3-2.

There was a resounding 5&4 defeat for Henrik Stenson and Alex Levy against rookies Sunghoon Kang and Poom Saksansin in match four while Ryder Cup team-mates Matt Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters lost 2&1 to Gavin Green and Yuta Ikeda, who made crucial birdies at 15 and 17 to secure the point.

Cabrera-Bello's immaculate putting saw the pair lead by one at the 18th tee but they failed to match Asia's birdie and had to settle for a half point.

"There was some unbelievable golf from a couple of the Asian pairings, as well".

"I've been talking to the guys all week that we expect them to come out firing", said Bjorn. The rust had been knocked off the golf swings in practice and maybe the competitive rust might have needed to be knocked off today.

"We're very well aware that Asia has never fielded a stronger team than they do this time, and golf is a odd game", Bjorn said.

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