Team Asia Captain Arjun Atwal has announced a talented young team to face Europe in the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM, featuring Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Gavin Green and European Tour members Kiradech Aphibarnrat, SSP Chawrasia and Li Haotong.
Thai pair Phachara Khongwatmai and Poom Saksansin, Malaysia’s Green and Chawrasia of India are the leading four Asian players on the Order of Merit who qualified for Team Asia in the biennial event which will be played at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club from January 12-14, 2018.
Japan’s Yuta Ikeda, who is currently ranked 37th in the world, Li of China, India’s Anirban Lahiri - the 2015 Asian Tour number one - and Aphibarnrat of Thailand all earned their spots in Team Asia as the leading available Asians on the Official World Golf Rankings.
Korea’s An Byeonghun, who represented Team Asia in the second edition of the EurAsia Cup in 2016, will make his return to the team after being selected as a Captain’s pick alongside Hideto Tanihara of Japan, who will make his third appearance in the event, Sunghoon Kang of Korea and Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung.
Team Asia have a combined total of 58 titles worldwide while six players in the 12-man team are still in their 20s. Phachara is the youngest at 18 and Tanihara is the oldest at 39.
“I’m proud to announce my team which is predominantly represented by young players. Most of them are still in their 20s but they have achieved huge success at a young age and have established themselves in the game,” said Atwal.
“Seven players in my team are ranked inside the top-100 on the Official World Golf Ranking and this underlines the strength of Team Asia. This is a strong team and it will be our goal to win the EurAsia Cup.
“We will face a strong Team Europe but I have faith in every member in my team. I’ve already mapped out a game plan to keep the players motivated and battle-ready when the tournament starts.”
23 year old Green will represent Team Asia for the first time after a splendid 2017 season where he won his first Asian Tour title and finished runner-up three times.
“It is always nice playing in front of the home crowd. The EurAsia Cup is a huge thing and it is a totally different ball game as compared to a stroke-play event. It is a team event and everyone gathers like a big family. I hope a lot of Malaysian fans come out and support Team Asia,” said Green.
China’s Li will also make his first appearance in the team event, dubbed the Ryder Cup of the East. The talented Chinese won his maiden European Tour title at the 2016 Volvo China Open and is currently ranked 57th in the world thanks to a third-place finish at The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
Ikeda, the highest ranked player in Team Asia, has enjoyed a remarkable season in Japan where he won three times while Kiradech is also coming off a solid 2017 where he finished second in two Rolex Series events – the Italian Open and season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Atwal will also rely on the experience of countrymen Lahiri, who represented Team Asia in the last two editions and Chawrasia who successfully defended the Hero Indian Open earlier this year.
“The knowledge of playing in team match-play is crucial and the experience of players like Lahiri, Chawrasia, An and Kiradech will be very important in the team. It is a nice mix of experienced and new players which have huge potential,” said Atwal.
Poom qualified for the team through the Order of Merit thanks to one victory and a runner-up result in Japan. The fearless Phachara, a two-time runner-up in 2017, is another new addition to team alongside Kang, who also finished second twice in the United States this year.
China’s Zhang Lian-wei has also been picked as Vice-Captain by Atwal to help him lead Team Asia against Thomas BjØrn’s Team Europe.
BjØrn has named a strong European team, featuring Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Paul Casey, Paul Dunne, Ross Fisher, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Alex Levy, Alex Noren, Thomas Pieters, Henrik Stenson and Bernd Wiesberger. Read more about Team Europe HERE