Thursday, 11 January 2018
Thomas Bjørn  (Getty Images)
Thomas Bjørn (Getty Images)

Captain Thomas Bjørn has given his full backing to all 12 of Europe's players after naming his pairings for Friday's fourball matches.

Dane Bjørn has selected Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood and fellow Englishman Paul Casey to begin proceedings against Byeong Hun An and Kiradech Aphibarnrat as Europe launch their EurAsia Cup defence at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.

Match two sees 2016 Ryder Cup rookies Thomas Pieters and Matthew Fitzpatrick take on Yuta Ikeda and Gavin Green, while 2017 BMW PGA Championship winner Alex Noren and Irishman Paul Dunne will face Hideto Tanihara and 18 year old Phachara Khongwatmai in match three.

Ryder Cup stalwart Henrik Stenson and Alex Levy have been paired together and will take on Sunghoon Kang and Poom Saksansin in match four, while Rafa Cabrera Bello and Bernd Wiesberger face home favourite Nicholas Fung and Li Haotong and Tyrrell Hatton and Ross Fisher will battle it out against Indian duo Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P Chawrasia in the final match of the day.

Bjørn is aware of the threat posed by the hosts but insists he did not try to second guess Asia captain Arjun Atwal when selecting his pairings.

He said: "I've been looking at the 12 guys that plays for Europe and we kind of focused on the pairings that we think are right for the team and will go out and do our job tomorrow, and not so much focus on what's on the other side.

"We knew that the pairings from the Asian team were going to be strong, so we respect what we're up against and we concentrate on ours.

"We've got some very strong pairings and I've got all confidence in these 12 guys. You know, this is a team of 12 and I believe in all 12 of them equally.

"I think they all bring so much to the team and to the team room - and now it starts and it's for them to go out and deliver on the golf course.

"But they are well aware of what they are up against and they are looking forward to it. There's a really good atmosphere in the room and it seems like everything is at ease with themselves and they want to get going."

I think we're in a good place with the pairings we have - Thomas Bjørn

Bjørn, who will also captain Europe's Ryder Cup Team in France later this year, gave an insight into the different aspects he considered when selecting his fourball pairings.

"You look at the stature of a player and you look at form," he added. "And then you look at stats and then you look at finishes.

"There are so many things that play into it and you've got to take all of that in, because you can't just go on the stats if people don't particularly gel well together - but you can't also just go on friendship if it doesn't make sense on the golf course.

"So I looked through all the different aspects - and when you've got to get all 12 out playing, you don't necessarily always get one guy playing exactly with the person he wants to play with but that's being part of a team and you accept that everything is not going to be exactly the way you want it in your head.

"I believe we are off to a good start with the pairings we have this week.

"I've worked closely with the stats guys, I've talked to the players - I've talked to the senior players and I've talked to the young ones but that's a natural thing of it.

"I think we're in a good place with the pairings we have."

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