Montgomery and Davies bring Europe level

The opening day of the Royal Trophy ended honours even as defending champions Europe drew 2-2 with Asia in today’s foursomes.

The opening day of the Royal Trophy ended honours even as defending champions Europe drew 2-2 with Asia in today’s foursomes.

Colin Montgomerie, returning as player-captain once again after guiding Europe to a 8½ to 7½ victory last year, ensured his side went into the second day on level terms after the Scot and playing partner Rhys Davies beat Yuta Ikeda and Kim Kyung-tae 2 and 1 at the Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin.

Europe had taken the early lead as Swedish duo Peter Hanson and Fredrik Andersson Hed eased to a convincing 7 and 5 win over Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee - who was struggling with a back injury – and Indian’s Jeev Milkha Singh.

Asia battled back, though, as Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Noh Seung-yul of South Korea and China’s Liang Wenchong edged Swedish pair Henrik Stenson and Johan Edfors 3 and 2 to tie the scores.

The hosts then moved ahead as Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and compatriot Shunsuke Sonoda defeated Italian teenager Matteo Manassero and Spain’s Pablo Martin 3 and 2.

But Europe drew level after consecutive bogeys at the 11th and 12th by Ikeda and Kim handed their rivals an advantage that Asia failed to recover from.

Europe will return to the course for tomorrow’s fourballs with their partnerships unchanged while Asia have made two switches with Singh partnering Kim against Edfors and Stenson and Ikeda teaming up with Thongchai against Hanson and Andersson Hed.

The result delighted Montgomerie, who believes it provides the ideal platform for Europe to move into the lead by the close of play tomorrow.

“I knew these games would be close and it is all to play for but I’m very happy with this result,” he said.

“We have something to work on and we’ll come out fighting (tomorrow). We want to be leading into the final day’s singles.

“We have been given a stiff test, but it was a very positive start for Europe.”

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