Clarke and Lowry off to winning Eurasia Cup start
Shane Lowry of Ireland plays out of a bunker on the 16th in the 2016 EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club. Picture: Mark Dadswell/Asian Tour

Shane Lowry of Ireland plays out of a bunker on the 16th in the 2016 EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club. Picture: Mark Dadswell/Asian Tour

Shane Lowry made a winning start with fourball partner Andy Sillivan as Darren Clarke's Europe took a 4 ½-1½ lead over Asian after day one of the EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.

Lowry and Sullivan beat Shingo Katayama and Wu Ashun 2 and 1 in an impressive opening day display by the visitors.

Ian Poulter and Bernd Wiesberger set the tone by beating Anirban Lahiri and Jeunghun Wang 4&3, with the English duo of Lee Westwood and Chris Wood setting the seal on a superb start for Clarke’s team by beating Kiradech Aphibarnrat and SSP Chawrasia in the sixth and final match at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club.

Having lost the third, Sullivan birdied the fourth and fifth and Lowry the seventh to put the European pair two up at the turn.

Sullivan then birdied the 13th and 14th to double Europe's lead but Katayama birdied the 15th and Wu the 16th to cut the deficit to two holes before the Europeans closed out the match with a half in pars at the 17th.

"We dovetailed lovely today," said Lowry, who is making his team debut as a professional. "I don't think we birdied the same hole, which was nice. Sully played great and putted great and we were kind of on top all day. 

"They birdied 15 and 16 but I said to Sully, the ball is still in our court. We were two up with two to play and if we made par on those two holes, we were pretty safe.  

"It was hard-fought at the end of the day but it was nice to get a win."

Sullivan added: "Going one down early doors, I think we bounced back really well and kept the pressure on them the whole way around. Obviously, you expect them to make birdies but not from where he holed his shot on 15. 

"But I felt pretty confident out there all day and Shano was always there to back me up as well so I am looking forward to tomorrow and getting back it again."

There was also a convincing victory for Ross Fisher and Kristoffer Broberg by 6&4 over Prayad Marksaeng and KT Kim while the only defeat for Europe came in match two as Byeonghun An and Thongchai Jaidee defeated Matt Fitzpatrick and Danny Willett 3&1.

The only potential cloud on the horizon for Team Europe is the knee injury suffered on the 15th hole by Victor Dubuisson, who played through the pain in helping Søren Kjeldsen secure a half in their match with the Malaysian duo of Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung.

Captain Clarke is confident the prognosis is good and that the Frenchman will be fit to take his place in the Saturday foursomes.

Player quotes

Ian Poulter

“It worked out nicely today. I think we for the most part put two balls in play. When you do that and you have good looks, you don't both have to make it on the same hole and that's exactly what we did. Darren said, listen, go out there first and get it done, that's exactly what we did today. And we dovetailed nicely. We put two balls in play for the most part and we kept them under pressure. Holed a few key putts. Especially around the turn, 12, 13, were key holes for us, and obviously that was enough to get the job done.”

Ross Fisher

“I didn't really have an inkling me and Kris were going to play together until probably Thursday, so I was quite excited. Clarkey explained why he put us together: apparently we make the most birdies together as a pairing. So we were really up for the challenge come the first tee, and just kept saying to each other, come on, let's keep the pedal down. Let's get two balls in play, that's what Clarkey reiterated to us last night at the meeting and that's what we tried to do today.”

Søren Kjeldsen

“That was a great match. None of us really gave anything away. I thought we had the advantage after I chipped in on 17, but he made a great chip there also. Victor plays like a rock star. He is a rock star, and I just love playing with him.”

Lee Westwood

“We dovetailed well. Made quite a few birdies, no bogeys, didn’t give any holes away. Woody played well, especially around the back nine and he made some lovely putts when he needed to. They were always going to be a tough combination to beat as they are both good players and they hit a lot of fairways, so we knew we had to be on top of our game.”

Darren Clarke

“A three-point lead after day one, it's a wonderful start for Europe. There was a lot of matches there that it could have swung either way on the back nine. Halfway around, Europe were leading in all the matches. I was on the radio to a few of the other guys and said, this is match play, Asia are going to come back at some stage on the back nine, and that's exactly what they did. We had a strong couple of matches and managed to finish with a very good result.”