Kuala Lumpur, March 17: Indian golfers Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar are likely to be paired when they represent the Thongchai Jaidee-led Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup at the Glenmaire Golf and Contry Club here March 27-29.
The Thai star will lead a 10-man Asian side against the Miguel Angel Jimenez-led Team Europe in the Ryder Cup-style showdown.
The 44-year-old will decide on the combinations when he meets up with the other nine members of his team at Glenmarie next week. But an option will be to pair by nationalities.
Thongchai’s countrymen Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Prayad Marksaeng are also in the squad while Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri of India and the Japanese pair Hideto Tanihara and Koumei Oda provide the tactical possibilities as well.
“I have spoken to some of my players about their preferences and thoughts about the potential pairings. It does make sense to pair our players by nationalities but it won’t be the sole criteria. I have some ideas in my mind now but I will not reveal them! Once the players come together on (next) Monday we will have team meetings to finalise the pairings for the fourball and foursomes matches. I believe I have many options as we’ve got a bunch of great players,” Thongchaiwas quoted as saying by the Asian Tour web-site.
Thongchai, the only man to win three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles, is excited ahead of the historic showdown and knows his role as leader of the team is crucial, especially in determining his pairings for the fourball and foursomes matches.
“I have played with both Prayad and Kiradech in the World Cup of Golf, so teaming up with either of them will be easy. Both of them are great golfers, with Prayad probably having a few more years of experience ahead of Kiradech! I will be comfortable playing with either player but my decision will only be made during event week,” he said.
The format of play for the EurAsia Cup will see five fourball matches being played on the first day (March 27) followed by five foursomes matches on day two (March 28) and 10 singles matches on the final day (March 29) at Glenmarie’s Garden course.
Team Asia: Thongchai Jaidee (Captain, Thailand), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand), Gaganjeet Bhullar (India), Nicholas Fung (Malaysia), Kim Hyung-sung (Korea,) Anirban Lahiri (India), Prayad Marksaeng (Thailand), Koumei Oda (Japan), Siddikur Rahman (Bangladesh), Hideto Tanihara (Japan).
Team Europe: Miguel Angel Jimenez (Captain, Spain), Thomas Bjorn (Denmark), Jamie Donaldson (Wales), Victor Dubuisson (France), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spain), Stephen Gallacher (Scotland), Pablo Larrazabal (Spain), Joost Luiten (Netherlands), Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland), Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark).