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Friday, 12 January 2018
Matthew Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters  (Getty Images)
Matthew Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters (Getty Images)

Following a strong start from Arjun Atwal’s Team Asia in the Friday fourballs, europeantour.com looks ahead to the Saturday foursomes at the 2018 EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM.

With the hosts one point clear of Thomas Bjorn’s side after an entertaining first day at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, there is plenty of work to be done for the Europeans heading into the weekend in Malaysia.

Here’s how the matches line up on Saturday:

Match 1 - 09.35: Tommy Fleetwood/Henrik Stenson vs SSP Chawrasia/Anirban Lahiri

“Match

In a mouth-watering opening clash of the day, reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood partners two-time European Number One Henrik Stenson against the Indian duo of Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia, who were defeated 5 and 4 in the fourballs on Friday. Fleetwood and Stenson are widely regarded as some of the top ball strikers in golf, having both ranked inside the top five in the world in strokes gained tee to green over the last two years, so the Asian side will have to be on top form to stop this European pair.

Match 2 – 09.45: Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton vs Kiradech Aphibarnrat/Byeong Hun An

“Match

After both winning their matches on Friday, an all-English pairing of Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton will take on Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Korea’s Byeong Hun An, who join up again in the foursomes after losing on day one. Despite claiming the point, Hatton struggled a little with an upset stomach on Friday, while Casey enjoyed his return to the European fray. The latter has shown previous form in Saturday’s format, having only lost once in his last five foursomes matches (Ryder Cup and Seve Trophy).

Match 3 – 09.55: Rafa Cabrera Bello/Alex Levy vs Gavin Green/Yuta Ikeda

“Match

Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Gavin Green lived up to his large billing on Friday, claiming an opening victory alongside Japan’s Yuta Ikeda and therefore it’s no great surprise that Team Asia captain Arjun Atwal has elected to keep the pair together for Saturday. They’ll play Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello and Frenchman Alex Levy in the foursomes. Despite being held all square on Friday, Rafa shone around the greens, leading the European side in strokes gained in short game (+0.93).

Match 4 – 10.05: Matt Fitzpatrick/Thomas Pieters vs Poom Saksansin/Sunghoon Kang

“Match

After inflicting the heaviest defeat of the day on Friday in a 5 and 4 victory over Henrik Stenson and Alex Levy, Thailand’s Poom Saksansin and Korea’s Sunghoon Kang will reunite to face young Europeans Matt Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters in the foursomes. The Englishman and the Belgian made a combined seven birdies on day one yet still fell 2 and 1 to the aforementioned Green and Ikeda so will be keen to bounce back over the weekend.

Match 5 – 10.15: Paul Dunne/Alex Noren vs Phachara Khongwatmai/Hideto Tanihara

“Match

In the only repeat match-up from Friday, Ireland’s Paul Dunne and Swede Alex Noren once again take on Thai young gun Phachara Khongwatmai and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara in the foursomes on Saturday, after the Team Asia duo came out on top by two holes on day one. After the disappointment of defeat on Friday, you won’t find a better foursomes pair around the greens than Dunne and Noren, two of the finest exponents of the short game in European golf, and they’ll be hoping that prowess can guide them each towards a maiden EurAsia Cup point.

Match 6 – 10.25: Ross Fisher/Bernd Wiesberger vs Li Haotong/Nicholas Fung

“Match

Ross Fisher continued his fine EurAsia Cup record on Friday, taking his all-time record to 3.5 points from four matches alongside Hatton. The Englishman will join up with Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger on Saturday to take on Nicholas Fung and Li Haotong, the latter of whom holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th on Friday to steal a half point at the last and an overnight lead for Team Asia.

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