Date: March 10, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Women merciless, men in thriller with Europe

The Asia-Pacific women’s team has thrashed Europe to remarkably win the Patsy Hankins Trophy with a day to spare.

The region’s female strength was highlighted when the biennial trophy was defended even before the third day’s singles matches, with Asia-Pacific going unbeaten through 10 matches on day two.

But the men’s prize, the Bonallack Trophy, remains squarely in the balance after Europe hit back hard on the second day to lead by two points with the 12 singles matches to be played overnight.

Australian ace Grace Kim again sat out the morning fourball matches on day two, but combined with Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit to have a 1-up win over Swedish pair Frida Kinhult and Amanda Linner in the afternoon foursomes to remain unbeaten in her two matches.

Asia-Pacific men’s manager Matt Cutler said the week had been “a good one for Grace to see how the best players in the world go about it and the areas she can continue to develop”.

“It has been a priceless experience.  Off course she has shown her character and been a clear leader in the team,” Cutler said.

The men are locked in a tight battle and going into the singles have a live chance to beat Europe for the first time since 2004.

Day two proved tough for Australians Min Woo Lee and Shae Wools-Cobb.

They fought back in the morning fourballs from two down with three to play to be all square heading up the par-five 18th, but a birdie from the Finnish pair, Sami Valimaki and Matias Honkala, resulted in a 1-down loss.

In the afternoon, the Aussies succumbed to their fourth round in two days and were beaten by French pair Frederic Lacroix and Edgar Catherine, who never let the pressure off with some incredible putting.

Japan’s Takumi Kanaya and New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier remained unbeaten in the tie with a win in the morning and a fighting half in the afternoon.

In the morning, Singapore’s Gregory Foo and Korean Dong Min Kim were six down with seven to play, but reeled off a series of birdies to win the last five holes and gain a crucial half point.

This set the tone for the afternoon when Foo teamed with Indian star Rayhan Thomas who got his first point of the tie with a 1-up win over the Finnish pair.

“So the stage is set for a big day on day three,” Cutler said.

“We have put the Aussie boys out early in the singles, with Takumi and the Thai boys Sadom Keawkanjana and Kammalas Namuangruk following closely after.

“It would be great to get some red on the scoreboard early and put pressure on the European boys down the order.

“The guys believe they have a seriously good chance and want to make it a double with the girls.”