GUANGZHOU, China, Dec 5 – Teenagers Chen Zihao and amateur Jin Cheng posted an eye-catching 7&5 win over Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant and Malaysia’s Khor Kheng Hwai as defending champions China claimed a 4-2 lead over Asia Pacific following Friday’s opening day fourballs at OneAsia’s Dongfeng Nissan Cup.
Liang Wenchong and Hu Mu also beat Australian duo Scott Laycock and Rhien Gibson 3&2, while Wu Ashun and Su Dong edged out New Zealand pair Mark Brown and Ryan Fox 1 up and Yuan Tian and Huang Wenyi beat Korea Republic’s Kim Hyung-tae and Lee Jun-seok 2&1 at Foison Golf Club.
Indonesia’s Rory Hie and Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines were able to complete a 5&3 victory over Yan Bin and Yang Guangming for Asia Pacific while Japanese duo Daisuke Maruyama and Nobuhiro Masuda edged out Zhang Lianwei and Li Haotong 1 up, although Peter Thomson’s two-time champions must re-group ahead of Saturday’s foursomes.
“It’s our first time to play professional matchplay so we tried to enjoy the game. We both made birdies on the second hole which gave us confidence,” said 18-year-old Chen, who only turned professional six weeks ago.
“The greens were very tough, but tomorrow we will play together again and we believe we will co-operate better.
“Jin made an eagle and we led by four holes on the back nine. And then for the back nine we played more confidently. We played very well today.”
Asia Pacific had drawn the first flood of the day as Fox, playing in the second group with compatriot Brown, put up the first blue number with a birdie at the opening hole.
But China soon established their dominance on the day and, with all six groups on the course, the leaderboard soon began to fill up with red as the defending champions led in three matches.
Asia Pacific did hit back to level the contest as the day progressed, but with all the other matches close, teenagers Chen and amateur Jin remained in control of their contest with Thaworn and Khor.
That advantage, though, was countered by with Hie and Lascuna holding a similar lead over Yan and Yang in the final group.
But it was China who claimed the first point of the opening day as Chen holed a putt from 25 feet on the 13th green for birdie to seal an emphatic 7&5 win over Thaworn and Khor after 16-year-old team-mate Jin had earlier eagled the 451 yard par four ninth after holing out from the fairway.
And China’s lead was soon doubled as Liang and Hu completed a hard-fought 3&2 win over Asia Pacific vice-captain Laycock and fellow Australian compatriot Gibson.
A third consecutive win soon arrived as Wu and Su, who holed the winning putt for China last year, edged out Brown and Fox 1up.
There was, though, finally a bright note for beleaguered Asia Pacific as Hie and Lascuna completed a 5&3 victory over Yan and Yang after the Chinese pair had been five down through seven holes, with the Indonesian sealing the point as he chipped in from a bunker at the side of the 15th green.
And Asia Pacific further reduced the deficit as Li missed from two feet on the final green which would have secured a half for himself and Zhang, allowing Japanese duo Maruyama and Masuda to claim the win despite having let slip a two hole advantage at the turn.
China, though, were guaranteed a first day advantage as Yuan and Huang held an unassailable advantage over Kim and Lee with four holes to play.
The Korean pair did manage to take the match to the 17th green, but with Kim unable to hole a putt from 10 feet, China claimed a fourth win of the day and a two point advantage heading into Saturday’s foursomes.
“Even though China had glory on the opening day, there is still more golf to play,” said Asia Pacific captain Thomson, who led the side to Dongfeng Nissan Cup wins in 2011 and 2012.
“The result proves that the China team is the strongest team from China since the Dongfeng Nissan Cup started so we hope to play exceptionally well from now and turn the contest in our favor.
“We also have a strong team and I hope they are seen at the same level as China by the end.”
Results from Friday’s fourballs between China and Asia Pacific at One Asia’s Dongfeng Nissan Cup being played at Foison Golf Club in Guangzhou (China names first):
Liang Wenchong & Hu Mu beat Scott Laycock (AUS) & Rhein Gibson (AUS) 3&2
Wu Ashun & Su Dong beat Mark Brown (NZL) & Ryan Fox (NZL) 1up
Chen Zihao & Jin Cheng beat Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) & Khor Kheng Hwai (MAS) 7&5
Zhang Lianwei & Li Haotong lost to Daisuke Maruyama (JPN) & Nobuhiro Masuda (JPN) 1up
Yuan Tian & Huang Wenyi beat Kim Hyung-tae (KOR) & Lee Jun-seok (KOR) 2&1
Yan Bin & Yang Guangming lost to Rory Hie (INA) & Antonio Lascuna (PHI) 5&3
Draw for Saturday’s foursomes:
Huang Wenyi & Yuan Tian v Rory Hie (INA) & Antonio Lascuna (PHI)
Wu Ashun & Su Dong v Kim Hyung-tae (KOR) & Lee Jun-seok (KOR)
Li Haotong & Hu Mu v Daisuke Maruyama (JPN) & Nobuhiro Masuda
Chen Zihao & Jin Cheng v Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) & Khor Kheng Hwai
Yan Bin & Yang Guangming v Ryan Fox (NZL) & Mark Brown (NZL)
Zhang Lianwei & Liang Wenchong v Scott Laycock (AUS) & Rhein Gibson (AUS)