sport

Asia peg Europe back in Trophy

Asia stormed back into contention at the Royal Trophy by taking three points from the four fourball matches against Europe to close the deficit to just one ahead of the final day singles.

Holders Europe have a slender 4.5-3.5 lead ahead of Sunday's eight singles matches at the Empire Country Club in Brunei with Jose Maria Olazabal's side needing four more points to win the annual contest.

 

Asia have won the Royal Trophy only once, in 2009, with Europe winning the four other editions.

 

India's Jeev Milkha Singh rolled in a four-foot putt on the 18th as he and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand scored a fighting half in their match against Olazabal and Spanish compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez in the opening game of the day.

 

Jimenez and Olazabal, who was nursing what appeared to be a neck injury throughout the round, both narrowly missed makeable putts on the last to claim the win.

 

South Korean Kim Kyung-tae then rolled in a four-footer on the 17th as he and compatriot Yang Yong-eun claimed a topsy-turvy 2&1 win over Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Swede Henrik Stenson.

 

The Korean duo were five up through nine holes but the Europeans closed the deficit and trailed by only one with three to play before Kim's pinpoint approach to the par-four 17th set up a birdie and Asia's first win of the sixth edition.

 

Bae could have added the second win for Asia shortly after but he missed his birdie effort on the 18th to half the match with Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts and German playing partner Marcel Siem.

 

Bae and Chinese partner Wu Ashun would have had two putts for the win but European Ryder Cup winner Colsaerts rolled in a 14ft effort on the final green to set up the half.

 

"The whole team knows we have to play our very best golf to win, but we have given ourselves a good chance," Wu said.

 

Japanese duo Ryo Ishikawa and Yoshinori Fujimoto then sealed a come-from-behind 3&1 win over Italian brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari to make it Asia's day and give them hope of winning the trophy.