Europe not underestimating Asia ahead of EurAsia Cup

Ruben Hill
January 13, 2018

It presents a major opportunity for Dunne to showcase his matchplay credentials in front of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn who also heads the European team this week.

It feels quite big for me, especially when I haven't played that many (team events) before.

They join Swedes Henrik Stenson (world No 9) and Alex Noren (19); England's Paul Casey (14), Tyrrell Hatton (17), Tommy Fleetwood (18), Matthew Fitzpatrick (29) and Ross Fisher (31); Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello (20); Belgium's Thomas Pieters (38) and Austria's Bernd Wiesberger (42) in a side that features several likely members of Bjorn's 2018 Ryder Cup team.

It may not be the Ryder Cup but for Paul Dunne and his European teammates, this week's EurAsia Cup is the closest they will get to an audition for September's main event in Paris.

The Asian team, captained by Arjun Atwal of India, includes three of the top five ranked players on the Asian Tour.

"I've got a very good Ryder Cup record, and a very good match play record, I've only ever lost two matches in a Ryder Cup. It takes a lot of guts and hunger to win a golf tournament, and all 12 of my players have it", Atwal added. I know we all are good friends on Team Asia, so everybody is friendly, funny.

"SSP and I are very comfortable playing with each other".

"When I spend time with them here, it's a bit of a different environment, and I have their ear a little bit better this week than I do week in, week out because I am their captain this week and I'm guiding the whole group to where we want to go".

Dunne is now well-placed in the Ryder Cup standings at seventh in the European points list and sixth in the world points list but there is still a long way to go before the team is finalised. Writing in a player blog on the European Tour website, Dunne says he is fully aware of how this week could impact on his chances of booking a place at Le Golf National later this year. It really is on my mind all of the time, and no matter what little thing I'm thinking about, it has a Ryder Cup perspective. "You can be underdogs on paper, but once the matches start, anything can happen". I felt like I was missing out a couple years ago, watching Darren Clarke and his great team and not being in the Ryder Cup was a huge factor.

Along with 2016 Open champion Henrik Stenson, Bjorn boasts European Tour order of merit victor Tommy Fleetwood, as well as fellow young English hotshots in Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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