Captains lead from the front in Malaysia

3/26/2014 9:46:00 AM
Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thongchai Jaidee  (Getty Images)
Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thongchai Jaidee (Getty Images)
Captains Miguel Angel Jiménez and Thongchai Jaidee will face each other in the opening fourball contest of the EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM.

Jiménez lines up alongside fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal in Thursday’s opening match at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club against Thai pairing Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Europe stick with a blend of youth and experience in the second game, where Danish pair Thomas Björn and Thorbjørn Olesen face Japan’s Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara.

In-form Frenchman Victor Dubuisson joins Dutchman Joost Luiten in the third tie against Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman and Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng.

Indian pair Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri face Dubai Desert Classic winner Stephen Gallacher and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño in the fourth game, while Graeme McDowell is in his favoured anchor role in the last of Thursday’s matches.

The Northern Irishman, who took the winning point at the 2010 Ryder Cup in the last singles tie, pairs Wales’ Jamie Donaldson against Kim Hyung-sung and local favourite Nicholas Fung.

Jaidee is confident his side can make a strong start, saying: “I know that Europe is quite strong at the moment, but our team is ready to play tomorrow. 

“We have a very good team right now; we have top players in the world, they have won everywhere, every tour, otherwise we have good players. 

“I will try my best tomorrow, because it's our team, myself, working hard and you have to do it for our team and be comfortable and also try to win some points tomorrow. 

“I think tomorrow, the match is very close, I cannot expect how many points. I think it will be a good chance for both teams. 

“I think our team at the moment, we have more confidence and we can see all the team work.

“I play so many times in a format like this, I have more to tell my players on my team, we have to work together. I know they understand what we want to do. 

“Myself and our team will try to win the trophy. I work very hard with all my team. 

“I like to be relaxed and we have some fun and enjoy the tough games, and also this trophy. If you play well, you win the trophy.  

“I think we have a good chance at the moment for winning the matches tomorrow. I think it's going to be close tomorrow.”

Jiménez admits the pressure of team golf is more intense than that of individual tournaments.

And like Jaidee, the 50 year old is expecting a close contest over the three days.

“This event is different than we are used to playing normally,” he said.

“Normally we play stroke play and you play for yourself. When you play a team event like this EurAsia Cup, you play a partner, you play for yourself, you play for your team, and you play for your continent.  

“It's going to be a tough match. Pablo and myself, we are playing well and we know how they are playing, and with Kiradech Aphibarnrat, they are playing well.

“It's going to be a very tough match. We don't know what's going to happen. 

“I put myself in the first group, I think to see how the rest of the group are doing. Obviously Thongchai is thinking the same thing and we are face to face tomorrow. We will see, let the golf clubs do the talking tomorrow.”