Europe edges out Asia in thrilling Royal Trophy
At the end of last year, Europe fought back brilliantly on the final day of the Royal Trophy to snatch victory from Asia and avenge a painful sudden-death play-off defeat in 2012.
After two days’ play at Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou – the first time the Royal Trophy had been staged in China – Europe was trailing 7-3 in the annual contest between the two continents.
The final day started well for Asia, but the momentum switched after David Howell birdied his final four holes to defeat in-form Jorean H.S. Kim 1up.
Marshalled by 2012 European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal and buoyed by Howell’s unlikely win, the European team proceeded to produced a stirring comeback.
Marc Warren beat Ryo Ishikawa, Alvaro Quiros secured a half with K.T. Kim, Thorbjorn Olesen inflicted defeat on Wu Ashun and Austrain Bernd Wiesberger triumphed 3&2 over Hiroyuki Fujita.
That left proceedings poised at 7.5 – 7.5, with Nicolas Colsaerts engrossed in the all-important final match against China’s Liang Wen-chong.
He eventually won 2up – a contrast to 2012, when he missed an eight-footer on the final hole to hand Asia the title – to secure the trophy for Europe.
“As it became clear that our match would decide who won the Royal Trophy, I kept thinking about how I was in the same situation a year earlier,” said Colsaerts.
“This event certainly throws up its fair share of drama. Everyone always seems to remember the guy who sinks the winning putt, but this was a real team performance.”
Howell, whose vital point changed the course of the final day, added:
“This is a wonderful event between two great teams and I love the idea that this event brings two continents together, not just in terms of golf but in the true spirit of golf.
“I would love to be part of it again when we defend the Royal Trophy, and I’m sure everyone on our team feels the same way.”
A gracious Thongchai Jaidee reaffirmed the sentiments of everyone involved, and reiterated his desire to return in 2014 and help Asia regain the trophy.
“I want to thank the sponsors and the organisers – and both teams – for making this such a great event.”
The eighth edition of the matches will take place from 19-21 December, 2014 at the Dragon Lake Golf Club.