Kuala Lumpur : Experienced golfers Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia failed to fire but young Asian stars sizzled as the Arjun Atwal-led team grabbed a historic opening day 3 ½ to 2 ½ lead over the star-studded European squad at the third EurAsia Cup here on Friday.
In three editions of the event, this was the first time the Asians led after the opening day’s four-ball action. Asia trailed 0-5 in 2014 and 1 ½ to 4 ½ in 2016.
The 22-year-old emerging Chinese star, Li Haotong holed a final birdie to snatch a crucial half point alongside local Nicholas Fung against Europe’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Bernd Wiesberger.
Earlier, the bunch of new faces in Asian team, including 18-year-old Phachara Khwongwatmai, the smiling and strapping Haotong, the 24-year-old Poom Saksansin and the highly articulate Asia No. 1 24-year-old Gavin Green, with their partners brought in a full point each.
Arjun Atwal said, “These youngsters were just too good. My stars included all youngsters from Poom to Phachara to (Gavin) Green and yes LI (Haotong) who holed that great final putt to halve his match.
“Lahiri’s record shows that he does not usually play badly two days running and I expect him and SSP to fight back tomorrow.
“As for the pairings for foursomes, the players are comfortable and they wanted to keep it the same as they did in practice. Anirban and SSP go out against Fleetwood and Stenson in the first match.”