Europe’s playing captain Colin Montgomerie teamed with Rhys Davies of Wales to win their foursomes match in the Royal Trophy on Friday, leaving Europe and Asia tied 2-2 after the opening day.
Sweden’s Peter Hanson and Frederik Andersson Hed got the Europeans off to a good start at the Black Mountain Golf Club in the Thai seaside resort town of Hua Hin, convincingly beating local favorite Thongchai Jaidee and Jeev Milkha Singh of India 7 and 5.
“It was great to win the first point. We started with a bogey but we got five birdies and played solid after that and had a particularly good run around the turn,” Hanson said.
“It felt a bit like playing at home. There is a big Swedish community here and the support was great.”
China’s Liang Wenchong and Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Noh Seung-yul of South Korea evened the scores when they beat Swedish pair Henrik Stenson and Johan Edfors 3 and 2.
Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa got the better of the much anticipated clash of teenage stars as he and compatriot Shunsuke Sonoda won 3 and 2 against rising Italian Matteo Manassero and Spain’s Pablo Martin, putting Asia up 2-1.
However, Montgomerie — seeking to add another continental match play series after leading Europe to the Ryder Cup in 2010 — and Davies squared the day when they defeated South Korea’s Kim Kyung-tae and Japan’s Yuta Ikeda 2 and 1.
Europe’s partnerships for Saturday’s fourball were announced as unchanged, while Asia captain Joe Ozaki had announced two switches: Singh will partner Kim against Edfors and Stenson, while Ikeda will pair with Thongchai against Hanson and Andersson Hed.
There will be four matches of four-ball on Saturday, followed by eight singles matches on Sunday.
Europe holds the Royal Trophy after a thrilling 8-1/2 to 7-1/2 win last year.