GUANGZHOU, China, Dec 6 – Asia Pacific will take a one point lead over defending champions China into Sunday’s decisive singles at OneAsia’s Dongfeng Nissan Cup after Peter Thomson’s two-time winners won four of Saturday’s alternate shot foursomes at Foison Golf Club.
New Zealand duo Ryan Fox and Mark Brown claimed a 4&2 win over Yan Bin and Yang Guangming, while Australian pair Scott Laycock and Rhein Gibson beat Zhang Lianwei and Liang Wenchong 3&2 on the 6,997 yard Haworth Golf Course layout.
And with Japanese team Daisuke Maruyama and Nobuhiro Masuda claiming a 2&1 win over Li Haotong and Hu Mu, and Korea Republic’s Kim Hyung-tae and Australia’s Lee Jun-seok edging out Wu Ashun and Su Dong 1up, Asia Pacific erased a 4-2 deficit from Friday’s opening fourballs.
“I feel a lot better than yesterday. We played really solid all day and managed to not hit each other into trouble, which is probably the most important part in foursomes. We got up early and didn’t give the other guys too much of a chance coming home, which is always nice,” said Fox, who finished seventh at last week’s Emirates Australian Open, having lost 1up to Wu and Su on Friday alongside Brown.
“We both hit it quite well today and started to roll some pretty good putts without anything going in, so hopefully we can keep it going for tomorrow.”
China had started the second day of the Ryder Cup-style matchplay event well, but the defending champions claimed just one win during the alternate shot format as Huang Wenyi and Yuan Tian edged out Indonesia’s Rory Hie and Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines 1up, while the match between Chen Zihao and Jin Cheng and Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant and Khor Kheng Hwai of Malaysia ended all square.
“I asked the team for some more effort as this is a serious tournament and they responded,” said Asia Pacific captain and five-time Open champion Thomson, who is seeking third Dongfeng Nissan Cup victory.
Holding a two point advantage from Friday’s opening fourballs, China continued their form from the previous day as Huang and Yuan claimed the opening hole against fellow first day winners Hie and Lascuna.
Hie and Lascuna quickly responded at the next hole, although Wu and Su soon quickly raced into a two hole lead over Kim and Lee in the day’s second group.
China extended their lead with advantages in the first three groups, although Asia Pacific responded to claim lead in the final three groups on the course.
Defending champions China did briefly move into a claim of the lead in four of the groups, with Wu and Su holding a four hole lead over Kim and Lee through eight.
But Asia Pacific soon took control of the day to lead in four matches with all the groups either at or either side of the turn, highlighted by Fox and Brown building a four hole advantage over Yan and Yang through nine.
The blue of Asia Pacific continued to dominate the leaderboard, and with the day’s first group heading to the 18th green level, Thomson’s side led in five matches.
And Asia Pacific eventually claimed the first point of the day on the 16th fairway as Fox and Brown completed a 4&2 win over Yan and Yang as the China pair conceded the hole after finding trouble off the fairway, with their opponents safely on the green of the 616 yard par five in three.
But China quickly responded as Huang holed a dramatic putt from six feet on the final green to claim a hard-fought 1up victory over Hie and Lascuna having levelled the evenly-matched contest with five to play.
Asia Pacific, though, still led in the remaining four matches and soon added a second point of the day as Maruyama’s putt on the 17th completed a 2&1 victory over Li and Hu despite having lost the first three holes.
And Asia Pacific levelled the overall tie as vice-captain Laycock and compatriot Gibson secured a 3&2 win over Zhang and Liang despite having let slip a two hole lead through seven.
That lead was extended as a fourth point of the day arrived on the final green as Kim held his nerve to convert from three feet to seal 1up victory over Wu and Su.
A third match of the day also went all the way to the final green and Jin had a chance to level the contest heading into Sunday, but the teenage amateur missed from eight feet allowing Thaworn and Khor to claim a half despite having been two up with five holes remaining.
‘It was a very exciting round today. We played well and finally won on the last hole. We played each shot at a time and we believed we could win today,” said Huang after also beating Kim and Lee 2&1 in Friday’s fourballs alongside Yuan.
“I co-operated with Yuan Tian. We trust each other and we encouraged each other. We also enjoyed today and that’s important.”
Results from Saturday’s foursomes between China and Asia Pacific at One Asia’s Dongfeng Nissan Cup (China names first):
Huang Wenyi & Yuan Tian beat Rory Hie (INA) & Antonio Lascuna (PHI) 1up
Wu Ashun & Su Dong lost to Kim Hyung-tae (KOR) & Lee Jun-seok (AUS) 1up
Li Haotong & Hu Mu lost to Daisuke Maruyama (JPN) & Nobuhiro Masuda (JPN) 2&1
Chen Zihao & Jin Cheng halved with Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) & Khor Kheng Hwai (MAS)
Yan Bin & Yang Guangming lost to Ryan Fox (NZL) & Mark Brown (NZL) 4&2
Zhang Lianwei & Liang Wenchong lost to Scott Laycock (AUS) & Rhein Gibson (AUS) 3&2
Draw for Sunday’s singles between China and Asia Pacific (China names first):
Liang Wenchong v Rhein Gibson (AUS)
Hu Mu v Rory Hie (INA)
Su Dong v Ryan Fox (NZL)
Yan Bin v Thaworn Wiratchant (THA)
Wu Ashun v Mark Brown (NZL)
Huang Wenyi v Scott Laycock (AUS)
Yang Guangming v Nobuhiro Masuda (JPN)
Yuan Tian v Daisuke Maruyama (JPN)
Jin Cheng v Kim Hyung-tae (KOR)
Zhang Lianwei v Antonio Lascuna (PHI)
Li Haotong v Lee Jun-seok (AUS)
Chen Zihao v Khor Kheng Hwai (MAS)