sport

Asia secure early lead

Asia moved into a 3-1 lead over Europe after the opening day of foursomes competition at the seventh edition of the Royal Trophy.

The two highest-ranked players on the Asian team, Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, set the tone for the hosts at the Dragon Lake Golf Club's Asian Games Course in China as they cruised to a 5&3 victory over Scottish duo Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher.

The Thai pairing were always in control of the contest having moved four up through the opening six holes and wrapped up victory when Aphibarnrat rolled home a 35-foot putt for eagle at the 14th hole.

Ryo Ishikawa and Hiroyuki Fujita extended the home team's advantage with a 3&2 defeat of Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger.

As in the top match, the Japanese duo made a fast start and were three up through four holes and then proceeded to hold their big-hitting opponents at bay.

Behind them, Koreans KT Kim and Kim Hyung-Sung combined in impressive fashion to secure a 4&2 victory over Spaniard Alvaro Quiros and Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen.

The highlight came early in the contest as Kim holed out from 150 yards at the fourth for an eagle and the home pairing did not let their opponents back into the match.

The only bright spot for Europe came in the bottom match as England's David Howell and Scotland's Marc Warren combined to claim a valuable point with a 2&1 success against Chinese duo Liang Wenchong and Wu Ashun.

All square through seven holes, momentum swung after Warren holed a remarkable bunker shot from a plugged lie at the par-five eighth and, after winning the next two holes, Europe ultimately eased to a convincing triumph.

European captain Jose Maria Olazabal admitted it had been a disappointing start, stating: "It was a bad day for us. We didn't expect that start.

"Now we have to be spot-on for the last two days - and that's our goal. We have to play aggressively and go for it. We do not have much room to manoeuvre."