sport

Europe in control in Malaysia

Europe remained on course for victory in the inaugural EurAsia Cup despite a spirited fightback from Asia on the second day in Kuala Lumpur.

After being whitewashed 5-0 in Thursday's fourballs, Thongchai Jaidee's side hit back to take three points from Friday's foursomes, with Prayad Marksaeng and Kim Hyung-sung beating Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen and Anirban Lahiri and Siddikur Rahman defeating Joost Luiten and Victor Dubuisson.

And it could have been even better for the home side, who at one point led in four of the matches and were level in the other, with Europe captain Miguel Angel Jimenez helping deny Jaidee victory in the opening contest.

For the second day running the 50-year-old Jimenez made two eagles at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club before a superb approach to the 18th set up team-mate Pablo Larrazabal for a birdie to snatch half a point against Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Stephen Gallacher also halved their match with Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara thanks to a birdie on the 17th, although the European pair missed another birdie chance on the last to win having let slip a three-hole lead.

Europe's only winners were Graeme McDowell and Jamie Donaldson, who came from behind for the second match running to beat Gaganjeet Bhullar and Nicholas Fung 2&1.

"At the end of the day I am happy," Jimenez said. "We managed to half a couple of matches and win another one. It was a tough day in the heat and Asia played very well today.

"At one point it looked like it was going to be the opposite of yesterday but we managed to get the points and 7-3 is a good lead for tomorrow."

Jimenez's side now need just three and a half points from Saturday's 10 singles matches to secure overall victory.

After losing the opening hole, Bjorn and Olesen had birdied the third to get back on level terms, but promptly lost the next two holes and were three down after eight thanks to a birdie from their opponents.

Kim converted his team-mate's excellent tee shot on the par-three 12th for another birdie to move four up, and although the European pair reduced the deficit on the next, a par on the 14th was good enough to put Marksaeng and Kim four ahead once more and they claimed Asia's first point on the 15th.

In the top match, Larrazabal narrowly missed a long birdie attempt on the 17th to get back on level terms, but made no such mistake from five feet on the 18th after another important contribution from Jimenez.

That meant the spoils were deservedly shared in a high-quality contest with Jimenez earlier holing a bunker shot on the third for an eagle and a putt from 30ft on the 11th for another, although the latter was only good enough for a half as Aphibarnrat followed him in from close range.

The third match also finished all square after Gallacher missed from 12 feet on the 18th to snatch victory.

He and Fernandez-Castano had been three up after 10 holes but lost four of the next five - three of them to birdies - to trail by one hole with two remaining, before a superb tee shot from the Spaniard led to a birdie on the 17th.

McDowell and Donaldson were three down after seven on Thursday and two down after eight today, but were thereafter gifted a number of holes by mistakes from their opponents.

Pars were good enough to win the ninth, 13th, 15th and 16th and they sealed victory with another par on the 17th after an excellent bunker shot from McDowell.

Luiten and Dubuisson had been one up with seven to play but lost the 12th and 13th and made a mess of the par-five 16th to lose it to a par.

And although they won the 17th, they were unable to birdie the last and Lahiri held his nerve to hole from seven feet to secure victory.