Royal Trophy: Europe produce stunning fightback to beat Asia at Dragon Lake GC
Jose Maria Olazabal mastermined another epic comeback as Europe beat Asia 8.5-7.5 to win the Royal Trophy.
Last Updated: 22/12/13 12:19pm
Asia, the holders, needed to claim just three-and-a-half points from Sunday's eight singles matches to win the trophy again and extended their lead from 5-3 to 7-3 by winning the top two matches.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat beat Paul Lawrie 3&2 in the top match before fellow Thai Thongchai Jaidee defeated Stephen Gallacher 4-2.
But requiring just another point and a half from the final six matches at Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, Asia were blown away as Olazabal's team produced a charge reminiscent of Europe's amazing comeback in the Ryder Cup at Medinah last year.
Marc Warren, David Howell, Thorbjorn Olesen, Bernd Wiesberger and Nicolas Colsaerts all scored victories while Alvaro Quiros added a half as Europe closed out a stunning 8.5-7.5 victory.
Warren fought back to beat Japan's Ryo Ishikawa with a par at the last, Olesen beat Wu Ashun 3&2, Howell edged Kim Hyung-sung one up and Wiesberger overcame Hiroyuki Fujita 3&2.
Kim had been three up on Howell heading to the 15th tee but lost four straight holes, the last with a three-putt.
Spain's Quiros also three-putted 18 to cost himself victory against South Korea's Kim Kyung-tae and that half meant the scores were tied at 7.5-7.5 with just one match still out on the course.
Colsaerts had a narrow one-up lead on Liang Wenchong after 16 and protected it by holing a tricky putt on 17.
Liang also made a tough putt to send the match down the last but it was Belgian Colsaerts who sealed victory with a brave up and down as his opponent three-putted.
"I want to thank these fantastic eight guys who did something extraordinary today," said a delighted Olazabal after recording his first success in the team matchplay event.
"To be honest, I had a few doubts, especially early in the round but what you did was extraordinary. Thank you very much for your contribution, for making things easy for me," the Spaniard told his team as he was presented with the trophy on the 18th green.
"I hope you all learned a little bit this week, especially the rookies.
"I really appreciate it, it means a lot to me. Thanks for your efforts."
Asia captain YE Yang said: "I congratulate Europe for an outstanding comeback. It was a great tournament but unfortunately a shocking loss for us.
"I never expected this because we were so far in front. The loss is a huge blow and a big surprise. Hopefully we'll learn from the mistakes we made and return stronger next year."