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BATTLING LI HANDS TEAM ASIA THE LEAD AT THE EURASIA CUP
Shah Alam, Malaysia, January 12: Li Haotong of China produced a gutsy birdie on the last hole to give Team Asia an edge over Team Europe heading into the Foursomes at the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM.
The 22-year-old Li and Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung dramatically halved their match in the Fourball Format against Bernd Wiesberger and Rafa Cabrera Bello as Team Asia leads on 3 ½ points against Team Europe’s 2 ½ points at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
Korea’s Sunghoon Kang and Poom Saksansin produced the biggest upset of the day when they defeated Major winner Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Frenchman Alexander Levy 5&4. Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Gavin Green of Malaysia and world number 36 Yuta Ikeda of Japan were also victorious 2&1 against Thomas Pieters and Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Hideto Tanihara of Japan and Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand, the youngest player on Team Asia at the age of 18, also secured victory on the 18th hole when they beat Alex Noren and Paul Dunne by two holes.
The pair of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Byeonghun An lost their match to Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey 4&3 while Indian duo Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia was beaten by Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton 5&4.
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.
Debutants Saksansin and Kang got off to a hot start when they birdied the opening eight holes and completed a remarkable victory on the 14th hole.
Playing in front of his home crowd, Green delivered an important victory with his partner Ikeda as the Malaysian holed a 15-feet birdie putt on the par-three 17th hole to contribute a point to the team.
Did you know?
· Team Asia has never led in the Fourball Format since the EurAsia Cup’s inception in 2014. In the first edition they were 0-5 down and in 2016 they trailed 1 ½ against 4 ½.
· Li enjoyed a winning debut at the EurAsia Cup. Other first timers who won their matches include Ikeda, Green, Phachara, Kang and Poom.
· Li is the second youngest player in Team Asia at the age of 22. He made a total of seven birdies in his round today.
· This is the first time Li and Fung played together and they will continue their partnership in the more difficult Foursomes format. All the pairings for Team Asia remain unchanged in the alternate shot.
· Kang and Saksansin matched the biggest victory margin in today’s round. Fisher and Hatton also won 5&4.
· They enjoyed a hot start when they made eight birdies in the opening eight holes.
· Ikeda was only the second player after Tommy Fleetwood to eagle the par-five 11th hole today.
Sunghoon Kang (Kor)
We started really strong and made eight birdies in the first eight holes. We tried not to lose focus and after that finished strong, so it was a wonderful day.
Even in the practice rounds I was having a very hard time reading the greens. So every single putt before I hit it, I asked (Poom), where do you think it's going to go and I just listened and there's no doubt, it goes in.
Yeah, we didn't really make that many long putts. He probably made the longest putt on the last hole and I hit it to about seven or eight feet.
It's going to be a totally different game . The course is not long, so the main key is keep it in play and you've got to hit a lot of fairways. Plus we're hitting a lot of short irons.
If it gets sunny or hotter, I think it will be good for Asia. The greens, it will be harder to read the breaks. I don't think the European guys are really used to hot and humid weather. So, hopefully if the sun comes out and it gets a little bit hot and it will be good for us.
Li Haotong (Chn)
Very happy to help the Asian team to create a new record, and hopefully I can continue in the next two days. I think I make a lot of birdies today. I played very well and made a lot of putts. I’m very happy on the final hole to make a putt to square the game. I was quite happy with the way we started. I played well the whole day, and I was under a lot of pressure on the first hole. But I really didn’t want to lose so this is a very, very good feeling.
Gavin Green (Mas)
I think it was solid overall. We got off to a shaky start but hung in there strong and we pulled it off. Big eagle from Ikeda on 11, a couple of saves, and then birdie on 15 and then birdie on 17. So, it was a strong finish for us.
Yeah, it was nothing crazy, actually. I was just hyped up in front of the home crowd and first tee. It was good and fun.
Yeah, I think we stuck to our pairings because we're comfortable with the players we're with, and you know, I think Arjun just said, "Let's keep going. We're not stopping now." We're going to keep it down and hopefully win more points.
Obviously experience plays a big part but at the same time it's a different ballgame, match play. You make nine and the other person makes three; that’s only one. You win the hole, it doesn't mean anything. You win one hole. You've got to keep going, I feel like. It can switch really quick.
Like we were 2-up through 11 and it switched right back. We were all square going to 15, so it can switch pretty quick.
I hit it on my line (birdie putt on 17), and you know, it stuck to the line that I was looking at and it dropped in. It was probably one of the best feelings I've had in a while. You know, to do it for my group and Team Asia, it's great.
Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha)
I'm very happy to get a point for Asia, but I learned a lot this week and this match because when I start, I'm nervous and Tanihara tell me just make birdie and don't think about anything. After that, I played so good, and that's why I’m in this press conference.
This is my first time playing in the EurAsia Cup and after four or five holes, it felt easy and Tanihara taught me a lot. I was quite nervous on 18 but I knew that my teammate can make birdie and he did it.
DRB-HICOM Berhad (“DRB-HICOM”) is one of Malaysia’s leading conglomerates with core businesses in the Automotive, Services & Education, as well as Property sectors. With more than 90 active companies in its stable and over 59,000 employees group-wide, DRB-HICOM’s aim is to continue adding value and propelling the nation’s development. In the Automotive sector, DRB-HICOM is involved in the manufacturing, assembly and distribution of passenger and commercial vehicles, including the national motorcycle. In Services & Education, DRB-HICOM is involved in various businesses, including concession and financial-related services. In Property, DRB-HICOM is involved in residential and commercial developments.
About Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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The European Tour celebrates men’s professional golf on a global stage. In 2017, the European Tour International Schedule features a minimum of 47 tournaments in 26 countries, including eight Rolex Series events, all part of the Race to Dubai.
Celebrating the global connectivity of the European Tour and Dubai, the Race to Dubai is a season-long competition to crown the European Tour’s Number One player, an honour which in 2016 went to Sweden’s Henrik Stenson for the second time, and which since 2009 has also been achieved three times by Rory McIlroy, as well as by Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald. Formerly known as the Order of Merit, points are accumulated based on prize money won, with the top 10 ranked players at the end of the season sharing a $5million Race to Dubai bonus pool.
Since its formation in 1972, the European Tour has witnessed 26 Members celebrate a total of 52 Major Championship titles between them, enjoyed ten Members attaining the pinnacle of World Number One and has celebrated its diversity as players from 36 different countries have won on the Tour.
The European Tour also manages the Challenge Tour, which featured 28 tournaments in 22 countries in 2016, and the Senior Tour, which featured 13 tournaments in nine countries in 2016. It is also the Managing Partner of Ryder Cup Europe, the body which, alongside the PGA of America, administers golf’s greatest team contest, The Ryder Cup.
The European Tour broadcasts live coverage of its tournaments to more than 490 million homes in more than 150 countries every week, generating in excess of 2,200 global broadcast hours for each event. It also enjoys the support of many of the world’s leading business brands with Rolex, BMW, Emirates and Titleist as Official Partners.
About MMC Corporation Berhad
MMC Corporation Berhad (MMC) is a leading utilities and infrastructure group with diversified businesses under three divisions, namely ports & logistics, energy & utilities and engineering & construction.
Its key businesses under the Ports and Logistics division include the operations of Port of Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd, Johor Port Berhad, Northport (Malaysia) Bhd, Penang Port Sdn Bhd, Kontena Nasional Berhad and JP Logistics. Internationally, MMC has an associate stake in Red Sea Gateway Terminal Company Limited, a container port terminal within the Jeddah Islamic Port, Saudi Arabia.
Under the Energy & Utilities division, MMC is the single largest shareholder of both Malakoff Corporation Berhad and Gas Malaysia Berhad.
MMC’s Engineering & Construction division has further established itself in the sector with a leading role as the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) and underground works package contractor for the 51km Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) project (Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line) and Line 2 project (Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya Line). Prior to this, MMC has successfully completed the 329km Ipoh-Padang Besar Electrified Double Tracking Project as well as the innovative Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) motorway, the first-of-its-kind dual-purpose tunnel in the world.
MMC continues to make inroads in the construction industry, securing key civil and infrastructure projects in the country namely Langat Centralised Sewerage Treatment Plant, Langat 2 Water Treatment Plant, civil and infrastructure works for RAPID Pengerang Cogeneration Plant. Additionally, MMC has a 20% effective interest in Borneo Highway PDP Sdn Bhd (BHP) which has been appointed as PDP for the Sabah Pan Borneo Highway Project.
In other businesses, MMC owns Aliran Ihsan Resources Berhad, a water treatment plant operator and Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd, the operator of Senai International Airport in Johor Bahru; a major aviation hub and the main air transportation gateway to Iskandar Malaysia. Additionally, MMC’s Group Property arm manages close to 6,000 acres of industrial developments in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor and Kulim, Kedah, namely Senai Airport City, Tanjung Bin Petrochemical & Maritime Industrial Centre (TBPMIC) and Northern Technocity in Kulim. The Senai Airport City, TBPMIC and NTC (NTC) developments come under the ambit of Group Property’s three operating companies – Senai Airport City Sdn Bhd, Seaport Worldwide Sdn Bhd and Northern Technocity Sdn Bhd respectively.