Dunne: "I'd rather get no points and a team win than all matches and the team lose"

Dunne: "I'd rather get no points and a team win than all matches and the team lose"
 KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - JANUARY 14:  Europe Captain Thomas Bjorn and the Europe team pose with the trophy following their victory during the singles matches on day three of the 2018 EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM at Glenmarie G&CC on January 14, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - JANUARY 14:  Europe Captain Thomas Bjorn and the Europe team pose with the trophy following their victory during the singles matches on day three of the 2018 EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM at Glenmarie G&CC on January 14, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

He might not have won a point but Paul Dunne passed the ultimate test for a team player during Europe's post-victory press conference at the EurAsia Cup - he didn't sulk.

"It's been a great experience for me," the Greystones man said after Thomas Bjorn's team came back from 6.5-5.5 behind, winning 14-10 after securing eight victories and one half from the 12 singles. 

"It's my first team competition as a professional. We had loads of fun in the team room. Everyone bonded quite well and all of these guys played great today. Managed to get loads of blue on the board early and gave us a lift.

"It was obviously a disappointing week personally. I didn't play as well as I would have hoped, but I'd rather get no points and a team win than all matches and the team lose, so it's been a good week."

Dunne lost twice in fourballs and foursomes with Alex Noren to Hideto Tanihara and 18-year-old Thai sensation Phachara Khongwatmai.

And while it was all set up for him to be a hero as he took on China's Haotong Li as 12th man in the singles, he lost 3 and 1 with the result already decided but did not commit the cardinal sin for a team player, especially after finishing as the only European without making a contribution to the winning tally.

Belgium's Thomas Pieters scored the winning point as Europe produced a dominant display to retain the trophy, winning seven of their first eight matches to complete their defence of their crown with several matches still out on course at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.

Ryder Cup star Pieters made a blistering start against Byeong Hun An, winning four of the first six holes without reply to establish a healthy lead. But the South Korean bounced back in style and took the eighth, ninth, 12th and 14th to level the match.

Pieters then curled in his tricky seven-foot putt at the 15th to regain the lead, before winning another hole at the next to ensure Europe would retain the trophy at very least. 

After An had holed his birdie putt at the 17th, the final hole was halved in fours and Pieters could celebrate delivering the winning point.

Alex Noren set the ball rolling for Europe, beating Nicholas Fung 4&2 in the lead match to level the tournament at 6½-6½. Rafa Cabrera Bello then beat Gavin Green 4&3 before Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood made it three in a row with a 2&1 victory against S.S.P Chawrasia.

Poom Saksansin got Asia's first point of the day when he beat Paul Casey by one hole but Henrik Stenson soon put another blue point on the board, beating Hideto Tanihara 2&1.

Bernd Wiesberger and Alex Levy then closed out their wins against Phachara Khongwatmai and Kiradech Aphibarnrat respectively to put Europe within a single point of victory, allowing Pieters to seal the deciding point.

Englishman Tyrrell Hatton then beat Anirban Lahiri 2&1 before Matthew Fitzpatrick halved his match against Sunghoon Kang.

Asia won the final two matches, with Li and Ikeda beating Dunne and Ross Fisher respectively, but the day belonged to Bjørn’s men.

“It was a great performance today from every single one of them, they came off the golf course yesterday and there was a determination and a will of wanting to win this," Bjorn said after dodging his first bullet eight months before he captains Europe in the Ryder Cup.

“To then go out and do the job the way they did today shows a lot about the character of these 12 guys and it shows a lot about the character of European golf and it shows a lot about what we are. 

"I think that's what I take away from this week, 12 great guys, 12 guys that want to go places in the game of golf.

“To sit on the sidelines and watch them do what they do best has been a tremendous pleasure. It's been wonderful to see and I learned a lot about myself and about these 12 players this week, and today their performance was outstanding.

PlayerFourballFoursomesSinglesTotal
Tommy FLEETWOOD1113
Thomas PIETERS1113
Tyrrell HATTON1113
Paul CASEY1102
Henrik STENSON0112
Matthew FITZPATRICK010.51.5
Bernd WIESBERGER0.5011.5
Rafa CABRERA BELLO0.5011.5
Alex NOREN0011
Alexander LEVY0011
Ross FISHER1001
Paul DUNNE0000

“It's an emotional roller coaster ride for three days. You live every shot with your players and you are missing putts, holing putts, winning holes, losing holes. 

"You live every moment out there and you've got an idea of what all 12 are doing. When you're a player, you play your own golf and concentrate on what's right in front of you.

“These kind of events always become closer than you think sometimes, and that's always good to know. When you go out there as a team, you've got to play. 

"You play for very few points the first two days and then you play for a lot of points on Sunday, and that's the way these events are. It can swing very much on the last day and we showed today that if you are good and strong on Sundays, you can win these things."

FoursomesFourballSinglesTotal
Yuta IKEDA1113
Haotong LI0.5112.5
Gavin GREEN1102
Hideto TANIHARA1102
Phachara KHONGWATMAI1102
Poom SAKSANSIN1012
Sunghoon KANG100.51.5
Nicholas FUNG0.5101.5
Byeong Hun AN0000
Kiradech APHIBARNRAT0000
Anirban LAHIRI0000
S.S.P. CHAWRASIA0000

Asian captain Arjun Atwal was proud of his team in defeat.

“I’m very proud of these guys. They are all awesome players and it’s just unfortunate we lost today," Atwal said. "We just didn’t make enough putts and they, on the other hand, made a lot more putts than us.

Singling out young Thai duo of Poom Saksansin and Phachara Khongwatmai for special praise, he added: “The sky’s the limit for them.  It’s unbelievable.  They are all fantastic players.  I got to know some of these guys a lot better this week and by just watching them play, I know they can achieve anything they want.  They can win majors.  They can win big tournaments on big tours.  There’s no limit.

“Look at the way he (Phachara) handled himself under pressure.  If I was 18, I don’t know if I would be able to do what he did this week by playing in this type of pressure.

“I had a lot of fun and I had an absolute blast this week. Even though we didn’t win, they are all champions and for me personally, I would do this in a heartbeat again."

EurAsia Cup 2018 — Europe 14, Asia 10

Singles

  1. Alex NOREN bt Nicholas FUNG 4&2 
  2. Paul CASEY lost to Poom SAKSANSIN 1 hole
  3. Tommy FLEETWOOD bt S.S.P. CHAWRASIA 2&1 
  4. Henrik STENSON bt Hideto TANIHARA  2&1 
  5. Rafa CABRERA BELLO bt Gavin GREEN 4&3 
  6. Bernd WIESBERGER bt Phachara KHONGWATMAI 2&1  
  7. Alexander LEVY bt Kiradech APHIBARNRAT 3&1 
  8. Thomas PIETERS bt Byeong Hun AN 1 Hole 
  9. Tyrrell HATTON bt Anirban LAHIRI 2&1
  10. Matthew FITZPATRICK halved with Sunghoon KANG 
  11. Ross FISHER lost to Yuta IKEDA 1 Hole 
  12. Paul DUNNE lost to Haotong LI  3&1