Olazabal oversees second ‘miracle’ to sink hosts Asia in Guangzhou

Nicolas Colsaerts
Nicolas Colsaerts
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Jose Maria Olazabal masterminded the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ in 2012 and this year produced another piece of magic as Europe took the Royal Trophy on a dramatic final day.

The Spaniard’s Ryder Cup side won eight and tied one of 12 last-day matches in Chicago a year ago, and the situation facing his team was the same on Sunday.

They started day three 5-3 down to Asia and when their hosts got out to 7-3, the writing was on the wall.

A stunning turnaround ensued, however, and Europe won 8.5 to 7.5 as Asia crumbled under the pressure at the Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou.

Nicolas Colsaerts was the man on the spot to sink the winning putt, prompting scenes of jubilation on the green. It capped another fine achievement for Olazabal, who had gone toe-to-toe with opposite number YE Yang in the build-up, both predicting how tough the other was going to have it.

Yang appeared to be vindicated when his men led at the end of day two and then stretched out in front as Kiradech Aphibarnrat beat Paul Lawrie (3&2) and Stephen Gallacher was toppled 4&2 by Thongchai Jaidee.

Asia needed a point-and-a-half with six games out on the course at that stage, and even when Marc Warren beat Ryo Ishikawa, it appeared no more than a consolation.

But the win gave Europe some momentum and then HS Kim picked up three bogeys on the way home which allowed David Howell to make birdies on the 15th and 16th to level, before taking the match with a brilliant last-hole up-and-down from the greenside bunker.

The rush stopped partly as KT Kim halved with Alvaro Quiros, but Europe quickly got a move on again as rising star Thorbjorn Olesen saw off Wu Asham.

Bernd Wiesberger ramped up the power heading home and four birdies over the first six holes earned him a 3&2 win against Hiroyuki Fujita.

The winner of the last match with Colsaerts edging ahead of Liang Wen-chong first and then twice recovered as Liang nipped in front, but the Belgian went out on his own again with three left.

Liang had a 15-footer to level on 16 but missed, before he messed up an approach on the 17th.

He needed a 30-footer to take the match to the last, but three-putted and Colsaerts dropped in from two feet for the win.