Date: January 13, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Asia wins Royal Trophy

Asia held off a final day singles resurgence from Europe to lift The Royal Trophy for the first time with a 10-6 triumph at Amata Spring Country Club near Bangkok. After establishing a five-point advantage after the first two days of the Ryder Cup-style matchplay event, Asia required just two points from the eight singles duels. Prayad Marksaeng defeated Pablo Larrazabal 5&4 after Paul Lawrie had claimed a 3&2 triumph over Liang Wen-chong before Toru Taniguchi sank the winning putt as he romped to a 7&6 record success over Niclas Fasth. European captain Jose Maria Olazabal – deputising for close friend and victorious 2006 and 2007 skipper Seve Ballesteros, who is recovering from surgery on a brain tumour – had hoped for a special performance from his team but Asia prevailed. Paul Lawrie won the day&aposs second match but woeful performances from Larrazabal and Fasth, playing in the fourth and seventh matches respectively, helped Asia to an unassailable lead. Nick Dougherty, Oliver Wilson and Johan Edfors recorded their first points of the week, but their wins were ultimately in vain as Asia emerged victorious. Olazabal congratulated Joe Ozaki&aposs Asian team for their triumph before hinting Ballesteros would return to reclaim the trophy in 2010. “My last words are for Seve,” said the Spaniard as he addressed his eight-man team. “He is recovering from some health issues, but even though I&aposm the captain this year, I might not be the captain next year – and I can assure you he is going to be tougher than I was.” The 42-year-old promised Europe would learn from the loss. “I want to thank my players for trying hard this week,” he added. “We lost, it hurts but that will make us better in the future.”