• The Royal Trophy, Day Three

Asia pull off remarkable comeback to claim Royal Trophy

ESPN staff
December 16, 2012
YE Yang played a crucial role as Asia came back to beat Europe © Getty Images

A resurgent Asia claimed the Royal Trophy in a play-off on Sunday, following a dramatic final day's play in Brunei.

The host team had ended the first day of the three-day event well in arrears, but completed a remarkable turnaround as they edged the closing singles to tie the score and force a sudden death playoff - one won by Asia after Nicolas Colsaerts missed a short putt.

With the final score locked at 8-8, Colsaerts and Francesco Molinari were sent out in a fourball pairing against Kyung-tae Kim and YE Yang.

Kim rolled in an eight footer for birdie at the first extra hole to leave Colsaerts forced to make his to continue the event - but the Belgian slide his attempt wide as Asia were crowned victors.

It was Yang who had forced the playoff, however, edging Molinari 2&1 in a high quality final singles match of the event to restore parity overall.

Europe started the singles with a slender advantage, and were handed an early half-point in unfortunate circumstances - as captain Jose Maria Olazabal was forced to withdraw from the singles due to a neck complaint. Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat was the unlucky player drawn to miss out on the final day's play as Olazabal's nominal 'opponent'.

Perhaps reflecting on his Ryder Cup success, Olazabal sent out Colsaerts at the top of his order - a move that paid off as he beat Sang-moon Bae one-up. Kim and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano then shared a half in the day's second match (after the Spaniard made a crucial birdie at the 18th) before Yoshinori Fujimoto stunned Marcel Siem one-up to raise hope of a home win.

Another half followed - Edoardo Molinari coming back from two down with three to play to halve with Wu Ashun - before Jeev Milkha Singh edged out Miguel Angel Jimenez to leave the scoreboard evenly poised at 7-7.

With two games left on the course, Henrik Stenson then completed a victory over Ryo Ishikawa to leave Europe assured of at least a playoff. But Yang held his nerve against the younger Molinari, setting the stage for Kim to complete a remarkable turnaround.

The triumph was Asia's second in the competition, which has now been played six times.

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