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Thai golf legend Thongchai Jaidee will spearhead Asia’s charge in the EurAsia Cup team competition next month in Malaysia
Thai golf legend Thongchai Jaidee will spearhead Asia’s charge in the EurAsia Cup team competition next month in Malaysia. AFP

Teams named for EurAsia matchplay event

The world of golf will greet the arrival of a Ryder Cup-styled intercontinental matchplay championship next month.

Selangor’s famed Glenmarie Golf and Country Club will play host to the best of Asian and European golf in the inaugural EurAsia Cup from March 27-29 with DRB-HICOM Berhad unveiled as the presenting partner.

As one of Malaysia’s largest conglomerates involved in the automotive, services, and property, asset and construction sectors, DRB-HICOM is making a significant foray into the world of golf through this high profile event.

Sanctioned by the European Tour and Asian Tour, the EurAsia Cup will be held every two years with 10-player teams from Europe and Asia affirming continental supremacy in much the same passionate way European and American rivalry plays out in the Ryder Cup.

As a mark of its stature and significance, the EurAsia Cup will be telecast live in more than 45 countries to an estimated 670 million homes. This highly acclaimed event also coincides with the Malaysian government’s tourism initiative Visit Malaysia 2014.

The event features five fourball matches, five foursomes and 10 singles between Team Asia and Team Europe.

Thailand veteran Thongchai Jaidee, who is familiar to the Kingdom’s golfing community as the 2008 and 2010 Cambodian Open champion, will lead the Asian side which also includes his compatriot and 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

India’s Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar shore up the team alongside Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh.

Leading golfers of the region, South Korea’s Kim Hyung-Sun, and the Japanese duo of Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara have also been drafted in while Malaysian Nicholas Fung makes the team as the captain’s pick.

Team Europe captain Miguel Angel Jimenez will have 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell and Danish veteran Thomas Bjorn to lead his team, which also includes world class golfers Jamie Donaldson (Wales), Victor Dubuisson (France), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spain), Joost Luiten (Netherlands) and Stephen Gallacher (Scotland). Meanwhile Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen were roped into the European team by Jimenez as his captain’s picks to complete the line-up.

Larrazabal, who made a winning start to 2014 with victory in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship over a high quality field which included Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, was delighted to receive a call-up from his fellow countryman Jimenez.

Olesen played alongside Jimenez for the first two rounds of the Dubai Desert Classic three weeks ago and the 24-year-old clearly impressed on the way to a fifth place finish, having tied for third spot the previous week at the Qatar Masters.

“Now that my team is complete I am very happy,” Jimenez was quoted as saying in an Asian Tour communique.

“I have a very strong group of players and a very good mix of youth and experience. It will be very tough to go to Malaysia and win because the Asian team is also very strong, but I believe if my players play to their abilities then Europe can triumph.”

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