EurAsia Cup: Sheffield's Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick gain point each as Europe take charge

Lee Westwood, pictured on his way to partnering Sheffield's Matt Fitzpatrick to victory in their EurAsia Cup foursomes match (Picture: Getty Images).
Lee Westwood, pictured on his way to partnering Sheffield's Matt Fitzpatrick to victory in their EurAsia Cup foursomes match (Picture: Getty Images).
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CAPTAIN Darren Clarke's decision to split the pairing of Sheffield duo Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick gained maximum reward on day two of the EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur.

The Yorkshiremen had lost as a fourball pairing on Friday at the Glenmarie Golf & Country Club, but - in tandem with a Ryder Cup stalwart - each brought home a point in the foursomes as Europe took a firm grip on proceedings.

Willett won 3&2 in the top game in the company of Ian Poulter while Lee Westwood and Fitzpatrick, in the anchor match, were even more emphatic, triumphing 5&4.

Europe are 9-3 ahead of Asia with just Sunday's singles left to come.

Willett, alongside Poulter, was up against Byeonghun An and Thongchai Jaidee, to whom he had lost 3&1 on Friday when European Tour Rookie of the Year An produced four consecutive birdies to turn the match on its head.

On Saturday, Willett and Poulter won four of the opening six holes, including the first two, and had the same advantage at the turn, after losing the seventh hole but winning the ninth.

An and Chaidee rallied to halve the deficit with wins at both the 12th and the 13th, but Willett and Poulter's instant response was to take the 14th, and they closed out the match 3&2.

Fitzpatrick and Westwood got off to a bad start by losing the first hole to Anirban Lahiri and Wu Ashun - but it proved their only concession of the day.

They immediately turned matters around, winning holes two and three, and wins at nine and 10 followed by another pair of victories at 13 and 14 led to their emphatic 5&4 triumph.

Bernd Wiesberger and Ross Fisher, and Shane Lowry and Andy Sullivan were also victorious for Europe, while Soren Kjeldsen and Victor Dubuisson halved their match with Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung.

Poulter said: "It was good golf. We had all intentions to play smart, keep them under pressure.

"It's probably their strongest pairing. They played nicely yesterday. I think they were probably nine under par, and we've done our job.

"We hit good golf shots. We played the right side of pins. We made no mistakes, no bogeys, and we backed each other up at the right time."

Westwood commented: "“Matt (Fitzpatrick) did say on TV after the round that he grew up watching me on TV, which made me feel a lot older.

"I’m always impressed with him, not just today. I saw how good a player he is and I don’t see too many weaknesses in his game."

Ireland's Lowry and England's Sullivan teamed up to earn a point for the second day in a row, winning three of the final four holes played to triumph 3&2 over Shingo Katayama and Prayad Marksaeng.

Sullivan's compatriot Fisher and Austria's Wiesberger twice hit back from a hole down to defeat KT Kim and Jeung Hun Wang by two holes although Kristoffer Broberg and Chris Wood were beaten by the same scoreline by Kiradech Aphibarnrat and SSP Chawrasia.

Denmark's Kjeldsen and France's Dubuisson won two of the final four holes to claim a half and put Europe firmly in the driving seat heading into Sunday.

Willett and An will face one another for the third time in the second singles match out on Sunday, while in match four Fitzpatrick goes up against Aphibarnrat.