Asia-Pacific teams claim rare double

Asia-Pacific teams snared a rare clean sweep when they outlasted Europe to claim both the Bonallack and the Patsy Hankins trophies in Qatar.

While the women were able to defend their win in the inaugural Hankins crown, the men’s team broke the European dominance which had been on show since 2004.

The women romped to a 23.5 to 8.5 victory, securing the title before all 12 singles matches had been played.

But the men were only successful after a heart-stopping final day, whittling back a two point deficit to squeeze home 16.5 to 15.5 in the biennial matches.

Teenage Thai star Atthaya Thitikul, fresh from her win in the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship, combined with her foursomes and fourball teammate, Filipino Yuka Saso as they collected all five points on offer.

While the women were cruising the Asia-Pacific men’s team started their chase after the Europeans on the final day two points down.

Australians Min Woo Lee and Shae Wools-Cobb hauled the teams back to square with wins of 3&1 over Ireland’s Robin Dawson and 1-up over France’s Edgar Catherine, respectively.

Europe managed to win back their advantage however but were unable to hold on as New Zealander Daniel Hillier, Thai Kammalas Namuangruk and Korean Korea’s Dong Min Kim claimed victories.

In a see-saw final day Scandinavians Oliver Gillberg, of Sweden and Kristofer Reitan from Norway soon reclaimed the lead with two matches left on course.

Filipino Lloyd Jefferson Go managed to overpower Frenchman Frederic Lacroix 3&2 to put the outcome in the hands of Japan’s Kazuya Osawa.

Osawa missed a 10-foot putt which would have sealed the match leaving Europe with the chance of making a half and thus retaining the trophy.

But England’s Matthew Jordan failed to make his eight-footer, giving the Asia-Pacific side the winning point.

“It was amazing to come out on top, a really fun week,” Perth’s Lee told Golf Australia after he had won three of his five matches.
Queenslander Wools-Cobb said the plan he and Lee had mapped out worked as planned.

“Min and I spoke last night and said if we could both get wins early we’d wipe the deficit and get the team rolling early. It was nice to do that.”

Asia-Pacific coach Gareth Jones, of South Australia, said it had been a “massive week” for both men’s and women’s teams.

“That was a lot of fun with 24 amazing players from our region,” said Jones, who also coaches the Japan national team.

“It was a brilliant week, it is going to be fun watching them all progress on the world stage.”

Team captain Matt Cutler described the tournament as “an awesome experience”.

“Having two teams of 12 from 10 different countries get on so well and enjoy each other’s success has been absolutely fantastic,” Cutler said.

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