Team Asia takes surprise early lead at EurAsia Cup

Yuta Ikeda of Japan hits a ball to the green on the 16th hole during the four-ball matches of the 2018 Eur Asia Cup golf tournament at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club in Shah Alam Malaysia Friday Jan. 12 2018

"We're not underestimating this team by any means", said Casey, who won his match with Fleetwood and is representing Europe for the first time in nearly a decade.

Thomas Bjorn is anticipating a stirring response from Europe after they ended the opening day of the EurAsia Cup trailing by a point.

England's Casey rejoined the European Tour at the start of the season to be eligible for the Ryder Cup and started his first event back impressively with victory alongside Race to Dubai victor Fleetwood to put the first point on the board.

But Team Asia, led by Arjun Atwal, hit back by putting two points on the board in quick succession.

Europe had the chance to end the day level at 3-3 but Li Haotong made a crucial birdie putt to win the 18th hole, ensuring he and partner Nicholas Fung halved their match with Bernd Wiesberger and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Team Asia's Sunghoon Kang and Poom Saksansin produced the biggest surprise of the day, defeating Europe's Major victor Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Frenchman Alexander Levy.

Li and Fung were 2-up after the turn but Team Europe bounced back superbly to lead 1-up in their match when they birdied, eagled and birdied the 10th, 11th and 12th holes respectively before Li holed a 15-feet birdie on the 18th hole to snatch a late draw.

"There was some unbelievable golf from a couple of the Asian pairings", Bjorn said.

"It was nice to see Paul (Casey) come back into the fold of European golf and go out and being determined at delivering a performance that's just world class".

The Dane, who is using this event as preparation for Europe's bid to try and win back the Ryder Cup in France later in the year, added: "I learn something every second of the day when I'm a captain, but I don't only do that here". This against an Asian contingent that boasts just one player (Yuta Ikeda) inside the top 40, with half the team residing outside the OWGR top 100.

"You've always got hopes and thoughts in your mind of how the day is going to pan out and obviously we didn't send the team out to be behind", Bjorn said.

"I suspect that we'll go out tomorrow and be ready to play, and foursomes is a very different game".

Henrik Stenson (Swe) & Alexander Levy (Far) Lost to Poom Saksansin (Tha) &.

Fisher and Hatton leveled the score at 2-2 with a 5-and-4 victory over Indians Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia.

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