Saturday, January 07, 2006

Europe take the lead


Europe's golfers established a stranglehold in the inaugural Royal Trophy against Asia on Saturday when they took a 6-2 overnight lead in the matchplay event. They collected a 3-1 lead in the morning foursomes, in which players take alternate shots and followed up with a similar advantage from the fourballs.

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Nick Faldo and European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam, who have won seven major titles between them, were the only European losers earlier, crashing 6&5 to Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant and Thongchai Jaidee. But both were paired with different partners in the fourballs where each competitor hits his own ball and emerged victorious.

There are eight singles matches remaining on Sunday and Europe require two and a half more points to clinch the trophy.

Asia would have been in worse shape overnight but Kenneth Ferrie, playing with fellow Englishman David Howell, missed a seven-foot putt on the last to tie against Indians Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Rhandhawa in the fourballs.

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