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Monday 1 September 2014

Europe in complete control

Published 27/03/2014 | 07:47

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Miguel Angel Jimenez was on top form on the first day of the EurAsia Cup (AP)

Captain Miguel Angel Jimenez led by example as Europe secured a 5-0 whitewash against Asia on the first day of the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

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Jimenez put himself out in the first match with fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and was the star of the show in a 2&1 victory over Asia captain Thongchai Jaidee and fellow Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

The 50-year-old carded two eagles and three birdies at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club to inspire his side to a clean sweep of the day's five fourball matches.

The only match to reach the 18th saw the Danish pair of Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen beat Japan's Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara by two holes, 10 holes in a row being halved after the European duo went two up on the fifth.

A birdie from Oda on the 16th halved the deficit, but Olesen crucially saved par from over the green on the 17th and the Asian pair were unable to find the necessary birdie on the last.

By that stage, France's Victor Dubuisson and Joost Luiten had already secured a 3&2 win over Bangladesh's Siddikur Rahman and Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng, the highlight coming when Dubuisson drove into the water on the par-five 11th but saw Luiten then hit the pin with his second shot to leave a tap-in for a winning eagle.

Stephen Gallacher and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano had also put a point on the board with a 4&3 win over Indian pair Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri, Fernandez-Castano getting off to a flying start by holing his second shot to the first for an eagle two.

After being conceded the fifth to move two up, Gallacher then eagled the par-five 11th from 15 feet and Fernandez-Castano birdied the next, and although Lahiri reduced the deficit on the 14th, Gallacher's birdie on the next sealed a comfortable win.

Ryder Cup hero Graeme McDowell - who secured the winning point from the final singles match at Celtic Manor in 2010 - and Welshman Jamie Donaldson surprisingly found themselves three down after seven holes to Kim Hyung-sung and local favourite Nicholas Fung, who had birdied the third, fifth and seventh.

But world number 14 McDowell, who had a 26-hour journey from Orlando after playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, birdied the eighth and ninth and Donaldson holed from seven feet for eagle on the 11th to get back to all square.

Donaldson also birdied the 13th and 16th and a par on the 17th was enough to prompt the players to shake hands to conclude a perfect morning for the European team.

With a total of 20 points to play for in the match, Jimenez's side were left needing just five and a half more from Friday's five foursomes matches and Saturday's 10 singles to secure overall victory.

Press Association

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