Japan’s Toru Taniguchi holed the winning putt as Asia completed a convincing 10-6 victory over two-time champions Europe in the Royal Trophy team competition yesterday.
Asia required just two points from the eight singles matches after dominating the first two days and they battle a spirited resistance from Europe to secure a first win, following defeats in 2006 and 2007.
The loss was a blow to European captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who wanted a victory to underline his credentials as a future Ryder Cup captain and to lift the spirits of his friend and tournament creator Seve Ballesteros, who is recovering from brain surgery.
“It hurts that we lost,” the two-time Masters champion said. “The guys tried hard today but it was very difficult to come back from such a big deficit. Asia have raised the bar without a doubt and we will have to come here next time angrier and more determined to beat these guys.”
“Seve is recovering from his health issues and Europe may have a different captain next year and I can tell Asia he will be tougher to beat than I was,” he said.
Asian captain Naomichi “Joe” Ozaki, on the end of a nine-point thrashing two years ago, was delighted that Asia won in style.
In the top match, Japanese teenage sensation Ryo Ishikawa secured a battling half with Soren Hansen of Denmark while Johan Edfors of Sweden beat S.K Ho of Korea 5 and 4. England’s Nick Dougherty was taken to the 18th by Korea’s Charlie Wi before winning 1 up and countryman Oliver Wilson, a member of Nick Faldo’s Ryder Cup team in Valhalla last year, beat Hideto Tanihara of Japan 3 and 2.
“I think next year Europe will bring stronger players so they can get the Royal Trophy back,” said Wi, who usually plays on the US PGA Tour.