Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stunning Asian Fight Back Sees EURASIA CUP Presented By DRB-HICOM End In Draw


Kuala Lumpur, March 29: A stunning fight back from Team Asia saw the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM end in a 10-10 draw after a thrilling final day at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club on Saturday.

Trailing 3-7 overnight going into the singles session – and having been 0-5 behind after the first day’s fourball session – not many gave Thongchai Jaidee’s team much realistic hope of turning matters around.

But they did just that, winning the session 7-3 to see the gleaming silver trophy shared at the end of the day with Miguel Angel Jiménez’s European troops.

Hailed as ‘The Ryder Cup of the East’ before the tournament started, the event certainly lived up to that lofty billing, producing drama of the kind normally reserved only for the biennial contest between Europe and the United States.

As well as capturing the imagination of the spectators on course and the millions watching on television around the world, the event also thrilled the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak who, at the closing ceremony, announced the Malaysian Government’s support of the contest to return to the country in both 2016 and 2018.

In the end, the fate of the EurAsia Cup – with the score tied at 9 ½ - 9 ½ - laid in the hands of Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño and Hideto Tanihara of Japan, whose ding-dong battle saw them all square playing the last hole in the last match on the course.

With both players on the 18th green in two, Fernandez-Castaño putted down to four feet while Tanihara’s effort stopped a foot and a half from the hole. Under intense pressure, the Spaniard held his nerve to roll his par effort into the back of the cup before sportingly conceding the Japanese player’s putt.

“I'm happy the way I performed under pressure but I have to say that was the most nervous I’ve ever been,” said Fernandez-Castaño, a seven-time European Tour champion. “However you just need to look around you at what is going on here: This is big. This is going to be the next big thing in golf and I'm really proud of being part of the first edition.”

Opponent Tanihara agreed. “There is not really much match play played in Japan so as a result this was a really great experience for me and all the members of the Asian team,” said the 35-year-old. “It was fun being here but I must admit my heart rate was pretty high over those final few holes!”

Asian captain Thongchai – who got Asia off to the perfect start with a 3 & 2 win over 2010 U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell – echoed the sentiments.

“Every member of my team was a hero today,” he said. “Everyone played really well but the match itself was unbelievable. It was a great finish and to end the contest on the final holes in the final match, I’ve never seen anything like it. It was amazing.”

Opposite number Jiménez – who was one of only two outrights winners for Europe when he nervelessly holed an eight foot birdie putt on the final green to beat a luckless Malaysian home favourite Nicholas Fung in the first match – agreed.

“It was tough for us today but it was an amazing day of golf and the Asian team played very well,” he said. “All the European players gave everything they had and I have respect for them all – it was a pleasure to be here with them this week. As I said at the closing ceremony, nobody lost – we both won. For this to be the first edition of the EurAsia Cup that was excellent and I wish all the best for the future.”

With the captains’ points in the bag for their respective sides, the next hour on the golf course firmly belonged to the hosts as they threatened to repeat the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ where Europe came from four points down on the final day to clinch The 2012 Ryder Cup from the United States.

Respective wins for Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Kim Hyung-sung, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri over Thomas Björn, Pablo Larrazábal, Thorbjørn Olesen and Victor Dubuisson, allied to Prayad Marksaeng’s half point against Jamie Donaldson, saw the overall scores levelled at 8 ½ - 8 ½.

Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman then moved Asia ahead for the first time in the three days with a 4 & 3 win over Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher before Dutchman Joost Luiten held his nerve to hole a four footer for a winning par four against Koumei Oda of Japan to bring parity once again.

It left the outcome of the entire contest on the match between Fernandez-Castaño and Tanihara – the half point being a fitting conclusion.

Final Day Singles Results (Team Europe first)
Miguel Angel JIMENEZ bt Nicholas FUNG 1 hole;
Graeme MCDOWELL lost to Thongchai Jaidee 3 & 2;
Thomas BJORN lost to Kiradech APHIBARNRAT 2 & 1;
Jamie DONALDSON & Prayad MARKSAENG halved;
Pablo LARRAZABAL lost to KIM Hyung-sung 4 & 2;
Victor DUBUISSON lost to Anirban LAHIRI 2 & 1;
Thorbjorn OLESEN lost to Gaganjeet Bhullar 4 & 3;
Joost LUITEN bt Koumei ODA 1-Hole;
Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO & Hideto TANIHARA halved;
Stephen GALLACHER lost to Siddikur RAHMAN 4 & 3.

Second Day Foursome Results (Team Europe first)
Miguel Angel JIMENEZ/Pablo LARRAZABAL & Thongchai JAIDEE/ Kiradech APHIBARNRAT halved; Thomas Bjorn/Thorbjorn OLESEN lost to Prayad MARKSAENG/KIM Hyung-sung 4 & 3; Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO/Stephen GALLACHER & Koumei ODA/Hideto TANIHARA halved ; Victor DUBUISSON/Joost LUITEN lost to Anirban LAHIRI/SIDDIKUR Rahman 1 hole; Graeme MCDOWELL/Jamie DONALDSON bt Gaganjeet BHULLAR/Nicholas FUNG 2 & 1

First Day Fourball Results (Team Europe first)
Miguel Angel JIMENEZ/Pablo LARRAZABAL bt Thongchai JAIDEE/ Kiradech APHIBARNRAT  2 & 1; Thomas Bjorn/Thorbjorn OLESEN bt Koumei ODA/Hideto Tanihara 2 Holes; Victor DUBUISSON/Joost LUITEN bt Prayad MARKSAENG/SIDDIKUR Rahman 3 & 2; Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO/Stephen GALLACHER bt Gaganjeet BHULLAR/Anirban LAHIRI 4 & 3; Graeme MCDOWELL/Jamie DONALDSON bt KIM Hyung-sung/Nicholas FUNG 3 & 1
-EurAsia Cup.

Hamilton grabs pole in rain-hit Sepang

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was fastest to grab pole position at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
- S. S. KANESAN / The Star
SEPANG: A downpour delayed the start of the Petronas Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix qualifying for 50 minutes. But not even the delay nor the wet track could stop Mercedes from continuing with the dominance it had shown all weekend as Lewis Hamilton chalked up back-to-back pole positions.
 
Hamilton’s first flying lap of 1:59.431 was good enough to secure pole position, which also saw him tying the record for most pole positions by a British driver in F1. It was his 33rd pole position and he is now level with former world champion Jim Clark. 

But Hamilton will not have it easy as reigning world champion and Red Bull ace Sebastian Vettel will start alongside him after clocking the second fastest time of 1:59.486.

Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg, who won the season-opening race in Melbourne two weeks ago and was fastest in the final practice in the morning, showed disappointing pace at the start but managed to improve to be third quickest in 2:00.050 as track conditions became worse in the closing stages.
 
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso will start in second row in fourth place with 2:00.175, although the Spaniard was lucky to make Q3 after surviving a collision with Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat earlier during Q2, which resulted in a broken suspension. 

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest while Alonso’s team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, qualified sixth. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and McLaren’s Jenson Button rounded out the top 10.

But all eyes will be on Hamilton – to see if he can get off to a good start as he chases down his first win at Sepang. Hamilton is hoping to make up for his early retirement from the season-opener in Australia due to an engine misfire.

“It was very, very tricky out there, particularly at the end, it was almost impossible to see on the last lap,” said Hamilton. “I’m really happy with the job the team has done and just generally how well we have done throughout the weekend. “But today was just incredible, considering how much it rained before qualifying and then during the session.

“During my first lap, I could not see a thing behind (Nico) Hulkenberg. I could not see where the track went, didn’t see where the corners were, when to brake,” added Hamilton, who stressed that the focus today will be to get points on the board. “The priority is to try and bag as many points, collectively, me and Nico. “I think we have a great opportunity, we got a great car, so fingers crossed, we both see our way through to the finish line.”

On Sunday, the drivers will pay tribute to the passengers and crew on board missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The drivers will have stickers bearing the MH370 sign on their helmets and there will be a minute’s silence before the start of the race.

-thestar online.

Asian Golf Belongs On The World Stage, Says Jubilant Team Asia


Kuala Lumpur, March 29: The emerging strength of Asian golf was for all to see when Team Asia completed a remarkable comeback to share the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM with Europe on Saturday.

Trailing 0-5 after the opening fourball session and 3-7 after Friday's foursomes, Team Asia, who was captained by three-time Order of Merit winner Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, dug deep and showed their fighting spirit by winning six matches and halving two matches to tie the match at 10-10 for a share of the spoils with Team Europe at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.

India’s Anirban Lahiri, who contributed with a 2 & 1 win against France’s Victor Dubuisson, feels Asia deserves to be mentioned in the same breathe as the golfing powerhouses from Europe and United States. 

“A lot of the people wrote us off after the first day. I was reading a lot in the media and on Twitter and Facebook and there was a lot of backlash. But I think all of us found that strength deep within us to come back and show that we are golfers as well. 

“Everybody puts European golf up there and I think it's time Asian golf gets the credit we deserve,” said Lahiri, a three-time Asian Tour winner.

Gaganjeet Bhullar, who enjoyed a convincing 4 & 3 victory over Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, shared similar sentiments with his fellow compatriot. “When we were walking off the 18thgreen today, we felt a great sense of achievement,” he said.

“Our results showed how far we have come. There was a time when we used to say we were from Asia and they asked if we have a tour. With this performance, people will know that the next superstars are coming from the Asian Tour.”

Despite the lack of match play experience, Bhullar, a five-time Asian Tour winner, was delighted that Team Asia rose to the occasion and proved their worth on the world stage.

“If you look at the PGA Tour and the European Tour, they get to play The Ryder Cup and The Presidents Cup.  For us, this is the first time we all have an opportunity to actually showcase Asian golf,” said Bhullar.

“We’re proud of how we picked ourselves up the last 48 hours. I think it's a great moment for Asian golf because it's put us on the map and I know a lot of people will now take notice of 10 of us and the Asian Tour,” added Bhullar.

Thongchai hailed the courageous fight back from his team and was delighted with their never-say-die attitude. “I’m really proud of my team as they did a really good job by winning seven points today. It was a very good comeback and we showed that we can never be written off,” said Thongchai.

The decorated Thai, a 13-time Asian Tour winner, led by example by defeating Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell 3&2.

That valuable point won also allowed the Thai to gain some revenge over McDowell after losing to the Northern Irishman in the finals of the Volvo World Match Play Championship last year.

“Everyone played really well today and it was simply unbelievable. If given the opportunity again, I want to play in the EurAsia Cup again,” said  Thongchai.

Team Europe’s captain Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain aptly summed up the assessment that Asian golf now belongs on the world stage.

“It's an amazing day of golf.  It's been very tough. The Europeans did not win the tournament and the Asian Team played very well. That showed that golf is very, very healthy all over the world,” said Jimenez.

The EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. Professional Golf Malaysia (PGM) will act as the local facilitator for the event.
-EurAsia Cup.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Malaysian EurAsia Cup Star Fung Leads Golf Masterclass For Local Youngsters



Kuala Lumpur, March 28: Malaysian golf star Nicholas Fung has taken time out from his playing schedule at the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM, to lead a masterclass for aspiring young golfers. 

The local youngsters paid a visit to Glenmarie Golf and Country Club to meet the Team Asia player and to take part in a junior clinic staged by the Selangor Golf Association, EurAsia Cup organisers and event sponsor MST golf.

Fung commented, “I had a great time taking the masterclass and meeting the kids - it’s good to see so many young Malaysians getting into golf. Some of them showed real promise and I hope to see a few representing Team Asia in future EurAsia Cup events.”

S. Kuldip Seine, President of the Selangor Golf Association commented, “We find one of the major factors in taking up golf is the cost, so we want to make the sport as accessible as possible to all Malaysian kids. We organise tournaments and clinics like this to encourage youngsters to take up the game and develop the sport of golf in Malaysia.”

“It has been fantastic to have the benefit of Nicholas’ experience as a professional in this masterclass – the children were so excited to meet him and they can’t wait to see him in action for the remainder of the EurAsia Cup. We hope that some of them will follow in Fung’s footsteps and represent Malaysia and Team Asia on the world stage one day.”

Tickets for the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM are available for purchase via online and hotline. Golf fans can purchase tickets on www.ticketpro.com.my or call +603 7880 7999 for further details.

Tickets are priced as follows: Day 3 (Saturday 29 March) RM98 and Season Ticket RM158. Entry is free for children under the age of 16. Each ticket includes a voucher for a free EurAsia Cup team cap. The voucher can be redeemed on site at the Official Merchandise shop at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.

The EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. Professional Golf Malaysia (PGM) will act as the local facilitator for the event.

Keep up to date with the EurAsia Cup at www.eurasiacup.com, www.facebook.com/eurasiacupgolf and on Twitter @EurAsiaCupGolf

Friday’s Foursome Draw (Team Europe first)
9:40am: Miguel Angel JIMENEZ/Pablo LARRAZABAL vs Thongchai JAIDEE/ Kiradech APHIBARNRAT
9.55am: Thomas Bjorn/Thorbjorn OLESEN vs Prayad MARKSAENG/KIM Hyung-sung
10.10am: Victor DUBUISSON/Joost LUITEN vs  Koumei ODA/Hideto Tanihara
10.25am: Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO/Stephen GALLACHER vs SIDDIKUR Rahman/Anirban LAHIRI
10.40am: Graeme MCDOWELL/Jamie DONALDSON vs Gaganjeet BHULLAR/Nicholas FUNG
-EurAsia Cup.

Ministry suspends roadshows for Visit Malaysia Year 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism and Culture Ministry has temporarily suspended roadshows on Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014 out of respect for the MH370 tragedy.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the suspension would continue for as long as there was no closure to the tragedy. Nazri was speaking to reporters after the launch of the fifth Malaysia International Shoe Festival (MISF) 2014, here, Thursday.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, left the KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was to have landed in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day.

The aircraft is believed to have ended its journey into the southern Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia and search and rescue operations by international teams is ongoing.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Footwear Manufacturers Association (MFMA) president, Tony Ting said the MISF targeted RM10 million in sales and 70,000 visitors this year compared to RM7.2 million last year. The festival which is open to traders and the public until Sunday, is showcasing 100 local and international brands.

In honour of Prof Datuk Dr Jimmy Choo's tremendous talent and contribution to the industry, the organisers have dedicated an exclusive Jimmy Choo Gallery, titled 'Mahkota- The II Series' at the festival this year.

Jimmy Choo is a world class shoe maker, famous around the world for creating shoes for celebrities, including the late Princess Diana. 

-Astro Awani.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Captain Jimenez Inspires First Day Whitewash At EURASIA CUP


Kuala Lumpur, March 27: Team Europe produced a dominant performance in the opening fourball session by winning all five matches against a shell-shocked Team Asia in the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM on Thursday.

European captain Miguel Angel Jiménez of Spain brilliantly led the way at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, partnering compatriot Pablo Larrazábal to a 2 & 1 victory over Team Asia captain Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand in the top match.

Frenchman Victor Dubuisson and Dutchman Joost Luiten combined effectively for a 3 & 2 triumph over Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand and Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman in a match they never trailed before Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño of Spain, who eagled his first hole from the fairway, and Stephen Gallacher of Scotland completed a 4 & 3 victory over Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar of India.

Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara of Japan took their match till the 18th hole before losing by 2-holes to Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen, both from Denmark.

Local Malaysian star Nicholas Fung raised hopes of an upset with three birdies in seven holes as he and partner Kim Hyung-sung of Korea raced to a 3-up lead over Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and Jamie Donaldson of Wales but the Europeans showed their class by fighting back to a 3 & 1 victory to complete a day to forget for Thongchai’s men.

Jiménez, who sank two eagles and three birdies in the better ball format, was delighted to see his team race ahead in the inaugural contest. “Yeah, can't get anything better than that really.  I started with my match with Pablo and played good today and I don’t think there is a better way to lead a team,” said Jiménez.

“I don't think anybody scored lower than me today so I was delighted with how I played personally but it was also really satisfying to see all of the boys playing so well.

The charismatic European captain has, unsurprisingly, retained his winning partnerships for Friday’s foursome (alternate shot) matches but is not taking anything for granted. “You don't want to change anything that is working. I don't know what will happen tomorrow. In the foursomes, it's a completely different format to fourball.”

Jiménez’s partner Larrazábal, who contributed with four birdies, praised his captain’s leadership. “Miguel played great, he was amazing. I was there when he needed and it was super playing,” said Larrazabal.

Fernandez-Castaño nailed a magical eagle from the fairway on the first hole as he and Gallacher brushed aside the Indian pairing of Lahiri and Bhullar. “I had the perfect yardage, but I knew I had to hit a good nine iron to get it there and that's exactly what I did. We heard the cheers and we were not really sure what had happened. I think our eagle was a premonition of what a fantastic day it was for the European Team,” said the Spaniard.

McDowell, who secured the winning point in Europe’s victory in The 2010 Ryder Cup, tipped his cap to partner Donaldson, who carried the last pairing home after falling 3-down early on. “We somehow managed to make the turn at 1-down which was huge and then this guy (Donaldson) just played phenomenal on the back nine, and I just had to just chill out and hang with him a little bit.  It was great to watch,” said McDowell.

Thongchai, who fought hard with four birdies of his own on the back nine, acknowledged Jiménez’s team was the better side. “Europe were very strong today. We played with Miguel in the first match, we played well and must have been eight-under but he was about 11- under. Miguel didn’t miss anything,” said the Asian captain, who made three changes to his pairings for tomorrow’s foursomes.

“We’ll try again tomorrow and we will change our game plan. We will work really hard and think about making some points back before the singles.”

Kiradech summed up Asia’s mood. “We didn’t expect the score to be five-nil. We didn’t perform our best,” said the reigning Asian Tour number one.

Lahiri, who shot a combined seven birdies with Bhullar, said Asia must bounce back on Friday. “I guess we have our backs to the wall. There's only way we can move from here.  We can't get any worse, can we? We have to hope that the Europeans get a little complacent and we have to up our games and play our best over the next two days, especially tomorrow, try and win at least four of the matches or 3 1/2 points,” said the Indian

The EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. Professional Golf Malaysia (PGM) will act as the local facilitator for the event.

Keep up to date with the EurAsia Cup at www.eurasiacup.comwww.facebook.com/eurasiacupgolf and @EurAsiaCupGolf.

The EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. Professional Golf Malaysia (PGM) will act as the local facilitator for the event.

Keep up to date with the EurAsia Cup at www.eurasiacup.comwww.facebook.com/eurasiacupgolf and @EurAsiaCupGolf.

Thursday’s Fourball Results (Team Europe first)
Miguel Angel JIMENEZ/Pablo LARRAZABAL bt Thongchai JAIDEE/ Kiradech APHIBARNRAT  2 & 1; Thomas Bjorn/Thorbjorn OLESEN bt Koumei ODA/Hideto Tanihara 2 Holes; Victor DUBUISSON/Joost LUITEN bt Prayad MARKSAENG/SIDDIKUR Rahman 3 & 2; Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO/Stephen GALLACHER bt Gaganjeet BHULLAR/Anirban LAHIRI 4 & 3; Graeme MCDOWELL/Jamie DONALDSON bt KIM Hyung-sung/Nicholas FUNG 3 & 1

Friday’s Foursome Draw (Team Europe first)
9:40am: Miguel Angel JIMENEZ/Pablo LARRAZABAL vs Thongchai JAIDEE/ Kiradech APHIBARNRAT
9.55am: Thomas Bjorn/Thorbjorn OLESEN vs Prayad MARKSAENG/KIM Hyung-sung
10.10am: Victor DUBUISSON/Joost LUITEN vs  Koumei ODA/Hideto Tanihara
10.25am: Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO/Stephen GALLACHER vs SIDDIKUR Rahman/Anirban LAHIRI
10.40am: Graeme MCDOWELL/Jamie DONALDSON vs Gaganjeet BHULLAR/Nicholas FUNG
-EurAsia Cup.

The 5th Malaysia Shoe Festival 2014 @ Putra World Trade Centre Kuala lumpur ( 27~30 March 2014 )


-Tourism Malaysia.

Malaysian Prime Minister Leads Minutes’ Silence






Kuala Lumpur, March 27: The Malaysian Prime Minister led a minute of reflection ahead of tee-off at the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM this morning, along with the two playing team captains.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak was joined by Team Asia captain Thongchai Jaidee and Team Europe captain Miguel Angel Jiménez on the first tee at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, Kuala Lumpur. A klaxon sounded to begin the minutes’ silence as a tribute to the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

Charlie Tingey, Senior Director, EurAsia Golf Ltd commented:

“The EurAsia Cup has incorporated a number of actions showing support for those affected by the recent events related to flight MH370. A minute of reflection was held on the first tee ahead of the opening fourball matches, with both team captains and The Prime Minister. All players and officials are wearing black ribbons and a Wall of Condolence has been installed in the tented village, where visitors to the tournament are welcome to leave a message.”

The EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. Professional Golf Malaysia (PGM) will act as the local facilitator for the event.

Keep up to date with the EurAsia Cup at www.eurasiacup.com, www.facebook.com/eurasiacupgolf and @EurAsiaCupGolf.

Thursday’s Fourball Draw (Team Europe first)
8:40am: Miguel Angel JIMENEZ/Pablo LARRAZABAL vs Thongchai JAIDEE/ Kiradech APHIBARNRAT
8.55am: Thomas Bjorn/Thorbjorn OLESEN vs Koumei ODA/Hideto Tanihara
9.10am: Victor DUBUISSON/Joost LUITEN vs  Prayad MARKSAENG/SIDDIKUR Rahman
9.25am: Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO/Stephen GALLACHER vs Gaganjeet BHULLAR/Anirban LAHIRI
9.40am: Graeme MCDOWELL/Jamie DONALDSON vs KIM Hyung-sung/Nicholas FUNG


-EurAsia Cup.