Bangalore, March 28: Despite winning seven of the 12 singles matches, Asia-Pacific still went down 14.5-17.5 to Europe who thus retained the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy on conclusion of the biennial amateur competition at the Karnataka Golf Association course here Friday.
Europe’s domination on Day 2 made all the difference as they consolidated their overnight 6-4 lead to 12.5-7.5 before going into the third and concluding round Friday. Asia-Pacific found the leeway a bit too much to make up.
Yet, Asia-Pacific, who have won only twice in previous seven contests, put in a fine performance in Round 3 to win as many as seven matches. Coming up trumps for Asia-Pacific were Koreans Nam-hun Kim and Soo-min Lee, Japan’s Kenta Konishi and Daichi Sato, Aussie Geoff Drakeford, China’s Jin Cheng and Lee Chieh-Po of Taipei.
Winning their respective singles matches for Europe were Mads Soegaard (Denmark), Gavin Moynihan (Ireland), James Ross (Scotland), Robbie van West (Holland) and Ryan Evans (England).
Europe, however, had to work hard for their victory that came when 20-year-old Irishman Moynihan beat India’s lone representative Karan Taunk with two holes remaining.
The result was not without some anxious moments for Europe. Needing to earn at least four points out of 12 available, Asia sparked a comeback winning four of the first six matches.
With Ross recording a resounding 5-hole victory over his Japanese opponent and Asia-Pacific leading in the last four matches, the entire result appeared to hinge on the match between Taunk and Moyinhan.
Although he trailed throughout, Taunk was only one hole down with three to play when his well hit approach on the 16th flew over the green into the water behind the green, marking the end of the Asia-Pacific challenge.
Taunk can console himself as the highly rated Moynihan has had the benefit of representing Great Britain and Ireland against the United States in the 2013 Walker Cup.
In Match 10, 20-year-old Soegaard added a bonus point for Europe beating New Zealander Joshua Munn by a narrow margin while Matches 9, 11 and 12 went to Asia-Pacific to create the final three-point score difference in the 32-match contest played over three days.
“The battle was tough out there and our players had to fight really hard. Asia-Pacific played really well and the match looked close a number of times during the day. After our 16-year-old star Dominic Foos lost Match 6 to Cheng, squandering a big lead, the pendulum started to swing Asia-Pacific’s way,” a delighted European captain Andy Morgan said.
“But thanks to James Ross and Gavin who steadied the ship to earn the crucial two points which ensured we would retain the trophy. The best part about this tournament was that all 13 of us came to Bangalore as individuals and travel back to our respective countries as a team.”
Asia-Pacific vice-captain Brad Schadewitz said: “We were pretty happy in the beginning when we exchanged the first two matches against very strong players. The Koreans Nam-Hun Kim and Soo-Min Lee and then Japanese Daichi Sato were all leading so things were looking really positive but Taunk and Joshua Munn’s matches were critical as they were close and could have swung the tie our way.