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Saturday, 13 January 2018
The EurAsia Cup trophy  (Getty Images)
The EurAsia Cup trophy (Getty Images)

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Following another strong day for Team Asia in the Saturday foursomes, europeantour.com looks ahead to the all-important Sunday singles draw at the 2018 EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM.

With the hosts lying one point clear of Thomas Bjorn’s side after the second day at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, it’s still anyone’s game in Malaysia.

Here’s how the 12 matches line up:

Match 1 – 08.35: Alex Noren vs Nicholas Fung

Still pointless in his EurAsia Cup career, having been defeated on both Friday and Saturday, World Number 19 and event debutant Alex Noren will be desperate to contribute to the cause in the Sunday singles and get some blue on the board early for the Europeans. The Swede will face Malaysia’s own, Nicholas Fung, who is unbeaten through two days in Kuala Lumpur after finishing all square in the fourballs and winning on Saturday alongside Li Haotong. In his two previous singles matches in professional team match play events, Noren has won one and lost one, but he has also had individual success, finishing runner-up to Anthony Wall in the 2016 Paul Lawrie Match Play.

Match 2 – 08.45: Paul Casey vs Poom Saksansin

In contrast, Paul Casey has claimed two points from two matches so far in his return to European team golf and he’ll face Thailand’s Poom Saksansin, who has one point through two days, on Sunday. While Saksansin will be playing his first professional singles match play tie, Casey, of course, has plenty of singles experience, having won the 2006 World Match Play Championship and played in a plethora of team events. The Englishman has played in eight singles matches in professional team match play events, winning four, halving one and losing three.

Match 3 – 08.55: Tommy Fleetwood vs SSP Chawrasia

The reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood comes into the singles with a 100 per cent record so far this week and on Sunday he’ll go head-to-head with man looking for his first point in the 2018 event in SSP Chawrasia. Fleetwood beat Joost Luiten in his only other singles clash in professional team match play golf in the 2013 Seve Trophy and he’ll be in confident mood after starting the year in a similar vein to the form he showed during his annus mirabilis in 2017.

Match 4 – 09.05: Henrik Stenson vs Hideto Tanihara


The highest ranked man in the field got his first taste of EurAsia Cup points on Saturday as World Number Nine Henrik Stenson teamed up with the aforementioned Fleetwood for a foursomes win. The Swede will face off against Japan’s Hideto Tanihara, who has gone two for two so far this week in the partner matches. In addition to his win in the 2007 WGC-Match Play Championship, Stenson has only lost three of his 11 professional singles games in team match play golf events, while Tanihara made it all the way to the semi-final before being knocked out by eventual winner Dustin Johnson.

Match 5 – 09.15: Rafa Cabrera Bello vs Gavin Green

With only half a point through two matches so far this week, Rafa Cabrera Bello will also be keen to push his side towards victory in the Sunday singles as he takes on Asian Tour Number One Gavin Green in match five. Green has won both his matches so far – including against Cabrera Bello in the Saturday foursomes – but will face a man with a pretty fearsome record in professional singles play. The Spaniard beat Jimmy Walker on Sunday at the 2016 Ryder Cup, and also had a stellar run at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in the same year, beating the likes of Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy en route to a third place finish.

Match 6 - 9.25am: Bernd Wiesberger vs Phachara Khongwatmai

Match six features Austria's Bernd Wiesberger and the youngest player to ever compete in the EurAsia Cup, 18 year old Phachara Khongwatmai. Wiesberger has endured an up-and-down week so far, notching half a point on Friday before narrowly losing in foursomes alongside Rafa Cabrera Bello. The young Thai, on the other hand, has been one of the standouts of the Asian team, holing putt after putt and winning both his matches so far. Tomorrow will be Khongwatmai's first ever singles tie as a pro whilst Bernd Wiesberger faced another Thai, in Thongchai Jaidee, in his last match play match at the 2017 WGC-Dell Match Play, where he won two up.

Match 7 - 9.35am: Alexander Levy vs Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Frenchman Alexander Levy will have his work cut out for him on Sunday as he faces Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Both players have yet to earn a point for their sides this week but Kiradech has the edge when it comes to match play history. The 28 year old won the Paul Lawrie Match Play back in 2015 and entering this week he had only lost five of 19 match play matches as a pro. Levy, despite having four European Tour wins to his name, has now only tasted victory in one of his nine professional match play matches.

Match 8 - 9.45am: Thomas Pieters vs Byeong-hun An

 

Thomas Pieters will hope to channel some of the experience he gained at the 2016 Ryder Cup when he goes head-to-head with Korea's Byeong-hun An on Sunday. Both players have combined for just one point in four matches so far, with Pieters winning in Saturday's foursomes partnering Matt Fitzpatrick. An will hope to kick off his 2018 in better form than 2017 with a victory on Sunday, having endured one of the worst seasons of his career last year including three straight losses in the WGC-Dell Match Play group stage.

Match 9 - 9.55am: Tyrrell Hatton vs Anirban Lahiri

Thomas Bjørn will be hoping Tyrrell Hatton can continue his impressive form on Sunday with a victory over India's Anirban Lahiri. While Hatton has won both his matches over the first two days, Lahiri has struggled and is yet to get anything from his foursomes or fourball matches with SSP Chawrasia. That being said, Lahiri is the only Asian player to have won two singles matches in the EurAsia Cup and will be hoping for a third straight victory tomorrow. As for Hatton, this week is the Englishman's first career appearance in team play but he has won five of seven individual match play matches as a professional.

Match 10 - 10.05am: Matt Fitzpatrick vs Sunghoon Kang

In what could be a pivotal match in a close EurAsia Cup final day, Matt Fitzpatrick and Sunghoon Kang will face off for the second consecutive day, after the Englishman defeated the South Korean in the foursomes format on Saturday alongside Thomas Pieters. Fitzpatrick took down Kiradech Aphibarnrat on the final green here on Sunday two years ago, while this will be Kang's first professional singles tie.

Match 11 - 10.15am: Ross Fisher vs Yuta Ikeda

The penultimate match of the EurAsia Cup sees two players currently ranked inside the top 40 in the Official World Golf Rankings. World Number 33 Ross Fisher, who lost his first match in five EurAsia Cup ties on Saturday, will go against World Number 36 Yuta Ikeda, who has won six times worldwide in the last two years.

Match 12 - 10.25am: Paul Dunne vs Haotong Li

In the final match of the tournament, Ireland's Paul Dunne will take on China's Haotong Li. Both players have had contrasting fortunes so far this week with Dunne losing both his matches alongside Alex Noren, while Haotong has thrilled the home fans with his play, winning both his foursomes and fourball matches. Interestingly, this will the first time Haotong Li has played in a professional match play singles tie.

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