Royal Trophy: Asia stay two points clear after Saturday fourballs are shared 2-2
Last Updated: 21/12/13 12:00pm
YE Yang's team continue to make the running
Asia lead Europe 5-3 in the Royal Trophy after Saturday's fourballs in China were shared 2-2.
It means the holders, who won Friday's foursomes 3-1, need three-and-a-half points from Sunday's eight singles matches at the Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, China to retain the trophy.
Asia 5 Europe 3
Jaidee/Aphibarnrat bt Gallacher/Lawrie 2&1
Wenchong/Ashun halved with Howell/Warren
Ishikawa/Fujita lost to Wiesberger/Olesen 2&1
Kim/Kim halved with Colsaerts/Quiros
Asia were given the ideal start by Thai duo Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee, who defeated Scots Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher 2&1 to extend the lead to three.
Jose Maria Olazabal's Europe were on course to reduce the gap when England's David Howell and Scotland's Marc Warren headed to the 17th tee two-up on Chinese pair Liang Wen-chong and Wu Ashun.
But the Asian pair pulled out two closing birdies to snatch an unlikely half point to keep YE Yang's men in control of the contest.
Europe's only win of the day came via Austria's Bernd Wiesberger and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen.
They scored a 2&1 victory over Japanese pair Ryo Ishikawa and Hiroyuki Fujita to reduce the gap to two points again.
Ishikawa and Fujita had beaten Wiesberger and Spain's Alvaro Quiros 3&2 in Friday's foursomes but looked out of sorts this time.
The bottom match appeared to be going Asia's way with South Korean duo Kim Hyung-sung and Kim Kyung-tae sitting two-up with two to play against Quiros and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts.
Vital half point
But, after winning 17, Quiros hit a fantastic shot from the trees on 18 to around five feet and, after consulting captain Olazabal about the line, rolled home the birdie putt. "I knew how crucial that was," he said.
Olazabal famously inspired Europe's Ryder Cup comeback at Medinah last year and hopes for a repeat performance. On that occasion, his team were four behind going into Sunday.
He said: "Getting a half in that last match has kept our hopes alive. If we have a solid start in the singles and put pressure on the Asian team then we can still turn it around."
Yang, meanwhile, is confident that his team can hang on and win the trophy back-to-back for the first time.
He said: "I'm a little disappointed with losing that final half a point and I was pretty nervous watching the last two matches. I hope we still have the momentum and that we can finish off the job in the singles."