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Shah Alam, Malaysia, 11 Jan 2018

Indians Lahiri and Chawrasia team up for the opening day Fourball at EurAsia Cup

Team Asia’s captain Arjun Atwal issued a strong statement of intent to win the third edition of the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM by unleashing his strongest pairings in Friday’s opening Fourball matches.
 
Having drawn 10-10 in the inaugural edition in 2014 and going down 18 ½ - 5 ½ in 2016, Atwal, who is captaining the side for the first time, is eager to set the record straight with a win at the Glenmarie Golf and Counntry Club.
 
“The matches look pretty balanced.  But the players in my team are all champions and they all know how to win,” said Atwal.
 
“If you come into our team room, you'll see their banners up and each and every one of them holding trophies. It takes a lot of guts and hunger to win a golf tournament, and all 12 of my players have it,” added Atwal.
 
The Indian, who won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2003, is counting on Korea’s Byeonghun An and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat to deliver the first point in their opening match against England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey.
 
Asia’s second pairing of Yuta Ikeda and Gavin Green will also prove to be a formidable one as Ikeda, the highest ranked Asian player at world number 36 is poised to strike a decisive partnership with Green, Asia’s number one as they attempt to take down England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters.  
 
Atwal’s strategic pairing of Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara where there is a mix of youth and experience could prove to be the difference as they face off with Sweden’s Alex Noren and Ireland’s Paul Dunne.
 
Atwal picked Korea’s Sunghoon Kang for the fourth match with Thailand’s Poom Saksansin while Team Europe’s captain Thomas Bjorn opted for Major winner Henrik Stenson of Sweden and France’s Alexander Levy.
 
Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung together with China’s Li Haotong will then square off against Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger while the Indian duo of Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia will try to wrap up the points for Team Asia in their last match against England’s Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton.

It will be the first time that the Indian duo will be paired together in the EurAsia Cup. Lahiri and Chawrasia were in the 2016 team but they did not play together. 

Lahiri, only one of three players to represent Asia for the third time at the biennial event, has contributed three points for Team Asia in the last two editions of the EurAsia Cup. He believes his camaraderie with Chawrasia will give them an edge over their talented opponents.
 
After representing their country together in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the Indian pair hopes to do their part and guide Team Asia to their first victory in the EurAsia Cup, which was won by Team Europe in the 2016 edition.

Anirban said, “I think it was a natural decision for Arjun, S.S.P. and me.  I think S.S.P. and me are very comfortable playing with each other. We have great communication. We have played so much golf together. We were at the Olympics a couple years ago, and I think we have very complementary game styles.
 
“S.S.P. is one of the most consistent players here this week. I can go as far as saying that. Obviously makes life a little bit easier for myself. If I do play with him later, it's going to be so much easier for me. I can go out there and play my game and obviously tomorrow is about making birdies. He's a great putter. I've been in good form, so I feel confident with my game. Hopefully we can go out there and make a bunch of birdies.”

Lahiri is arguably the most experienced team match-play player in Team Asia as he has also played in the Presidents Cup in 2015 and 2017.
 
He added, “The more you play, the more you learn, the more opportunities you have to understand. Match play obviously works differently. Team match play has its own set of challenges. I've been very fortunate. I've learnt a lot under Captain Nick Price in the two Presidents Cups that I've played.
 
“So I think between 2014 and now, this is my fifth team event in a row, so to speak, so I've learned a lot of strategy and how things work. So whenever there's anything that I feel that I can add to the team, I do that.
 
“As far as experience is concerned, I think all the players here know how to play golf. The most important thing for all of us is to just go out there and play our golf. We just have to focus on what we do, regardless of which event you play.
 
“If every single one of us makes five birdies or six birdies tomorrow, Asia will be ahead and that's exactly how we need to think. We shouldn't really be looking at the scoreboard too much and we shouldn't be looking at what our opponents are doing. Whether it's the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup or the EurAsia Cup, it basically comes down to who makes more birdies and who holds more putts.
 
“At the end of the day it's simple and it's not rocket science. Everybody just has to go out with that attitude, and outside of that, there's nothing much to say. Everybody knows how to make birdies and every single one of us is a great player.”

Interestingly Lahiri, Chawrasia  and the rest of Team Asia proudly display their country flags on their belt buckle.

Source: Asian Tour
 

FRIDAY FOURBALL DRAW
 
January 12, 2018 Pairings
 
(Team Europe first)

Match 1: 8.35 AM Tommy Fleetwood & Paul Casey vs Byeonghun An & Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
 
Match 2: 8.50 AM Thomas Pieters & Matthew Fitzpatrick vs Yuta Ikeda & Gavin Green.
 
Match 3: 9.05 AM Alex Noren & Paul Dunne vs Hideto Tanihara & Phachara Khongwatmai.
 
Match 4: 9.20 AM Henrik Stenson & Alexander Levy vs Sunghoon Kang & Poom Saksansin.
 
Match 5: 9.35 AM Rafa Cabrera Bello & Bernd Wiesberger vs Li Haotong & Nicholas Fung.
 
Match 6: 9.50 AM Tyrrell Hatton & Ross Fisher vs S.S.P. Chawrasia & Anirban Lahiri.
 
 

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