EurAsia Cup: Captains Jimenez and Jaidee to face off in opening match in Malaysia on Sky Sports
Captains Thongchai Jaidee and Miguel Angel Jimenez will clash in the opening match of the EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH
Last Updated: 27/03/14 10:01am
The opening match of the inaugural EurAsia Cup will see Jaidee pair up with reigning Asian Tour No 1 Kiradech Aphibarnrat for Team Asia against European skipper Jimenez and fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal.
All ten players on each team play in each session, with five fourballs on Thursday followed by five foursomes on Friday and ten singles matches on Saturday.
With Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley watching on at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club and his vice-captain Des Smyth assisting Jimenez, some clues on possible pairings for Gleneagles later this year could well come out of this week's event.
Danes Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen play in the second match against Japanese duo Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara, while Victor Dubuisson and Joost Luiten form an exciting-looking partnership against Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng and Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman.
Indian duo Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri face Spaniard Gonzalo Fdez-Castano and Scotsman Stephen Gallacher, while home favourite Nicholas Fung of Malaysia partners Korea's Kim Hyung-sung against Graeme McDowell and Jamie Donaldson.
Lead from the front
Both skippers are looking to strike an early blow for their teams by playing in the lead-off match on Thursday.
"It's going to be a tough match," said Jimenez. "You know, Pablo and myself, we are playing well and we know how they are playing, and with Kiradech, they are playing very solid.
"I think to put myself in the first group, I can see how the rest of the groups 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."
Three-time Asian Tour No 1 Jaidee agreed with the plan: "I have to see every group, that's the most important. Our team is ready to play. We'll try to win some points but it's difficult to tell. We'll be trying our very best. We'll have to do it for our team. We want to win the trophy.
"I think tomorrow, the match is very close. I think it will be a good chance for both teams. I think my team, I like them to be relaxed and have some fun and enjoy the tough games. If you play well, you win the trophy."
Local hero Fung is a captain's pick for Team Asia and he is thrilled he has been handed such a high-profile draw against US Open winner and Ryder Cup hero McDowell and the current Race To Dubai leader Donaldson.
"When they announced the draw, I was so excited to play against G Mac and Donaldson," said the 24-year-old Malaysian. "Kim has been playing well and I am feeling good. I want to thank Thongchai for putting me in the last match. He wanted to get the crowds to follow me on the last group."