GUANGZHOU, China, Dec 7 – Asia Pacific produced a dominant display in Sunday’s singles to win OneAsia’s Dongfeng Nissan Cup for a third time in four years after completing a record 15-9 victory over defending champions China at a damp Foison Golf Club.
Peter Thomson’s Asia Pacific won eight of the 12 matches on the final day of the Ryder Cup-style matchplay event, with Australian duo Ryan Fox and Scott Laycock, Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, Japanese pair Daisuke Maruyama and Nobuhiro Masuda, Korea Republic’s Kim Hyung-tae, Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines and Malaysia’s Khor Kheng Hwai all claiming victories.
China had led 4-2 after Friday’s opening fourballs, but after claiming just one win during Saturday’s foursomes to slip a point behind after two rounds, only Liang Wenchong, Hu Mu and 19-year-old Nanshan China Masters winner Li Haotong prevailed on Sunday, with the contest between New Zealand’s Mark Brown and Wu Ashun halved as Asia Pacific won the final day singles 8.1/2 - 3.1/2 en route to overall victory.
“We promised to be modest in victory and humble in defeat so you can see which one we have picked now. We played some good golf in some pretty funny conditions today and it was a good effort,” said Asia Pacific captain Thomson, who was also in charge for the successes in 2011 and 2012 as well as last year’s defeat.
“The players reacted after my plea for them to get serious and play hard after the first round. The second and third days were a surprise to us to outscore the China team, and it was beyond our wildest dreams we would win by such a margin.”
With Asia Pacific in possession of a one point lead having won four of Saturday’s foursomes, Thomson’s side started the final day well with Rhein Gibson, Rory Hie and Fox establishing early leads.
And with all 12 groups out on a damp course, Asia Pacific led in eight of matches, highlighted by Thaworn holding a commanding five hole advantage over Yan Bin through seven, with Thomson’s side only needing to claim six points to ensure the title.
That was soon extended to advantages in the final 10 matches with Thaworn five up on Yan and Laycock, Kim and Lascuna holding four holes advantages, although with Hu all square with Hie, Liang charged into a four hole lead over Gibson with seven to play.
Gibson held on until the 15th, but the Australian was unable to stop Liang completing a 4&3 win as China claimed the first point of the day to level the overall contest.
But Asia Pacific were soon back in front as Thaworn secured a 6&5 win over Yan having never trailed in the contest, losing just one hole in the process.
And Thomson’s side extended their advantage as Fox converted from four feet on the 17th green to complete a 2&1 win over Su Dong, who holed the winning putt last year as China claimed a first win following a 12.1/2 - 11.1/2 victory.
China, though, kept themselves within touching distance as Hie failed to hole a long putt on the 18th as Hu claimed a 1up victory, although Asia Pacific held leads of over at least three holes in six of the eight remaining matches.
And vice-captain Laycock was next to claim victory with a 4&2 win over Huang Wenyi, before Maruyama soon followed suit by defeating Yuan Tian 4&3 to claim a third point of the week as Asia Pacific moved into a 10.1/2 - 7.1/2 lead with Thomson’s side also ahead in four of the remaining six contests.
The fifth group of the day was the second to make it all the way to the 18th green, but Wu and Brown could not be separated and the pair were forced to settle for a half following an up-and-down contest.
But Asia Pacific’s victory was soon confirmed as Masuda edged out Yang Guangming 2&1 to also maintain his perfect record for the week, with China crucially unable to win two of the remaining four matches.
Lascuna’s 5&4 win over Zhang Lianwei and Kim’s 4&3 win over 16-year-old amateur Jin Cheng quickly followed to extend the advantage with two matches remaining.
Khor’s 4&3 win over 18-year-old Chen Zihao handed Asia Pacific an eighth and final win of the day, and despite Li beating Australia’s Lee Jun-seok 3&2, China were forced to settle for a record defeat in the tournament after Asia Pacific surpassed their 14.1/2 - 9.1/2 win in 2012 having won the maiden event 12.1/2 - 11.1/2 a year earlier.
“We lost, but it’s a good experience for our young players. Today was good and some of the China players who have a lot of experience still played well under pressure. Some of the younger players lost, but they are playing for the first time,” said China vice-captain Wang Jun.
“This format is very good for the young Chinese players who can get a lot of experience through this tournament. It’s good for the young Chinese players and good for Chinese golf fans to see what progress China has made.
“Asia Pacific had very strong players. All of them have played professional tournaments for many years, so they are very competitive and have a lot of experience.”
Results from Sunday’s singles between China and Asia Pacific at One Asia’s Dongfeng Nissan Cup (China names first):
Liang Wenchong beat Rhein Gibson (AUS) 4&3
Hu Mu beat Rory Hie (INA) 1up
Su Dong lost to Ryan Fox (NZL) 2&1
Yan Bin lost to Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 6&5
Wu Ashun halved with Mark Brown (NZL)
Huang Wenyi lost to Scott Laycock (AUS) 4&2
Yang Guangming lost to Nobuhiro Masuda (JPN) 2&1
Yuan Tian lost to Daisuke Maruyama (JPN) 4&3
Jin g lost to Kim Hyung-tae (KOR) 4&3
Zhang Lianwei lost to Antonio Lascuna (PHI) 5&4
Li Haotong beat Lee Jun-seok (AUS) 3&2
Chen Zihao lost to Khor Kheng Hwai (MAS) 4&3