Team Asia takes surprise early lead at EurAsia Cup

Golf Asia rally to stay one point clear in Eur Asia Cup

Arjun Atwal

Experienced Englishman Paul Casey and France's Alex Levy are Bjorn's two wildcard picks against an Asian side led by three-time European Tour victor Arjun Atwal of India.

Bjorn will also captain Europe in the Ryder Cup, which takes place in France this September, with the hosts looking to regain the trophy they lost to the United States at Hazeltine in 2016.

Atwal praised his 12-man team's positive start - but insisted it was not yet time to celebrate."It's a good start but I don't want to ever sound cocky with a team like Europe", he said.Europe had taken an early lead, with Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey defeating Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat and South Korea's An Byeong-Hun for a 4-3 win.

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.

Asia captain Arjun Atwal said: "I'm really happy with how the day went, especially with the Li Haotong match".

"I'm ecstatic to get this going and get a point, because it's going to be a tough week", he added.

South Korea's Sunghoon Kang and Poom Saksansin produced the biggest upset of the day when they defeated Major victor Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Frenchman Alexander Levy 5 and 4.

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There were big wins for the English pairings of Tommy Fleetwood with Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton with Ross Fisher in the top and anchor matches, but the Asian team pulled off three victories in between before Li Haotong's superb final-hole birdie snatched a half in the last game to finish. The European duo battled back from 2 down to stand on the 18th tee 1 up.

Competing in this week's EurAsia Cup, the heavily-favored Euros won just two of Day 1's six matches, trailing by one point in the biennial event.

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

Promising young Malaysian Gavin Green, the latest Asian Tour Order of Merit victor, is among a handful on the Asian side playing in the event at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club for the first time. The rust had been knocked off the golf swings in practice and maybe the competitive rust might have needed to be knocked off today.

"We feel like we knew we could find ourselves in this position, and we knew this Asian team is very strong and very much ready to play".

He better hope so, or his Ryder Cup dress rehearsal could be a complete a flop.

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