Asia beat Europe for first crown
Matchplay title travels East after Toru Taniguchi holes winning Royal Trophy putt.
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2009 09:31 GMT

Ryo Ishikawa was getting tired of looking for his caddie's contact lens [AFP]
A resolute Asia beat twice winners Europe to win the Royal Trophy for the first time after dominating all three days of the matchplay contest in Thailand.

Japan's Toru Taniguchi holed the winning putt for Asia, who needed only two points on the final day to prevail over a wayward and weary European side who never found their feet in the competition.

"I'm very happy because we lost the first two times," said Taniguchi after his 7&6 win over Niclas Fasth in the third singles match on Sunday.

"I'm happy for all the players, the feel of this team has been great."

Massive advantage

Imbued with confidence after carrying a massive five-point advantage into the final day, the Asians fought hard to prevent any chance of a European revival and led in five of the eight matches at the midway stage.

Europe drew first blood when Paul Lawrie, the top performer on what captain Jose Maria Olazabal said had been a "rusty" European team, beat Liang Wenchong 3&2 to grab a point.

In-form Thai Prayad Marksaeng then romped to a 5&4 victory over struggling Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, who had an ugly round with four bogeys and three double bogeys, to allow Taniguchi to claim the trophy with his win over Fasth.

Johan Edfors made amends for a grim first two days, taking four birdies in the first six holes on his way to a with a 5&4 win over SK Ho, while Soren Hansen secured a half after finishing all square with Ryo Ishikawa.

Oliver Wilson was two up over Hideto Tanihara and Nick Dougherty was one up against Charlie Wi in their bid to salvage some pride for the defeated European team.

Thai Thongchai Jaidee added more gloom to a wretched week for Paul McGinley with a 5&4 win over the Irishman, who lost his unbeaten record in team golf as a result of the Asian triumph.

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