Warren eyes place in Clarke’s EurAsia team
WITH European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke set to be named today as skipper for the 2016 EurAsia Cup, Marc Warren, Scotland’s top-ranked golfer, has put forward his case for selection.
The second staging of the now biennial EurAsia Cup will take place in March next year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Clarke’s rival captain will be Jeev Milkha Singh, the India-born 2012 Scottish Open champion.
Warren has played in two Seve Trophy encounters and a Royal Trophy and with both events no longer on the schedule, the EurAsian Cup is now seen as a real stepping stone into the European Ryder Cup team. Five of last year’s European EurAsia Cup team, including Stephen Gallacher, went on some six months later to compete at Gleneagles.
“I’ve got plenty of team experience having won the 2007 World Cup with Monty [Colin Montgomerie] and winning the Seve Trophy the same year plus I was on the winning 2013 Royal Trophy team,” said Warren.
“To play in the EurAsia Trophy would be even more experience on the route to playing Ryder Cup.”
It will be a first taste of team captaincy for both Clarke and Singh. The Northern Irishman is currently at Hazeltine, the venue for the 2016 Ryder Cup, as part of the ‘Year To Go’ ceremony. He said: “It’s not only a great honour to be asked to captain the European EurAsia Cup team but it’s a great opportunity to get a close-hand look at some younger guys who are doing well on the Tour who could possibly qualify for the Ryder Cup team. There’s also a chance to size up possible Hazeltine pairings, so events like the EurAsia Cup can be a good breeding ground for the Ryder Cup.
“I was planning to be out in Kuala Lumpur anyway but now in accepting the captaincy role I will get more interaction with the players, and players I could very well be taking with me to the States later next year.”
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee produced a flawless final round to claim victory at the Porsche European Open in Germany ahead of Englishman Graeme Storm.
Scotland’s Scott Jamieson posted a 73 for a share of 55th place at two under par, with the Glaswegian dropping three spots to 107th on the Race to Dubai and just three shy of losing his card for a first time in his pro career. Fifer Peter Whiteford signed off for a 75 to drop to a share of 60th place at level par.
Overnight leader Jaidee posted four birdies in his bogey-free round of 67 on Sunday to finish on 17 under, one shot ahead of Storm, and secure his seventh European Tour title.
Jaidee had Storm level with him until the 17th, when the latter found the water with his tee shot, leading to his sole bogey of the day.
Overtaking Colin Montgomerie as the competition’s oldest winner, the 45-year-old Jaidee then sealed his triumph with a fine six-foot putt on the 18th. Sweden’s Pelle Edberg was third, two shots behind Storm, Scott Hend of Australia was fourth and Wales’ Jamie Donaldson and England’s Ross Fisher were among four players tied for fifth.
Jaidee made just two bogeys in the entire competition and even he was slightly surprised at his finishing score.
“It’s a very special week for me,” said Jaidee on the European Tour website. “It is the third time I have won outside of Asia, so I’m very excited about that and I’m happy to win this tournament.
“I’m feeling very confident at the moment. I didn’t make many mistakes this week. I played very nicely and 17 under is some score for me. I liked the golf course. It’s not very long and you have to keep it in play. Graeme Storm played very well too. It was very exciting on the last three holes. The 18th is tough and you can’t miss the fairway. I had to go left and then it was a good chip and a good putt at the last to win.”
After being pipped to the title, Storm remains on one European Tour win, achieved at the Open de France eight years ago. However, the 37-year-old took solace from a runners-up finish, saying: “I’m very pleased. I’ve secured my card and I’ve got a job again for next year.
“That was the main thing at the start of the week and today as well. Maybe I could have holed a few more putts and the title would be mine, but congratulations to Thongchai, he made a great up and down on the last. It wasn’t meant to be. It was vital to finish second on my own and I’m looking forward to trying to qualify for The Race to Dubai final rather than having to go to Q-School. It’s amazing to think all of a sudden I might be able to qualify for that.”
HIGH HOPES: Marc Warren, who missed the cut at the Porsche European Open, would relish a crack at the EurAsia Cup