Mon, Jan 12, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Asia takes Royal Trophy

AFP , BANGKOK

Ryo Ishikawa of Japan reacts after missing a putt at the 18th hole during the singles match in The Royal Trophy championship in Chonburi, Thailand, yesterday.

PHOTO: EPA

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.

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