McGinley secures European victory in Royal Trophy
Published 14/01/2007 | 08:12
Europe retained the Royal Trophy as Paul McGinley put himself in an unbeatable position in his match-up with Asia's Thaworn Wiratchant as the Irishman took an unassailable three hole lead with only three left to play at the Amata Spring Country Club.
McGinley, who hit the all-important putt as Europe won the Ryder Cup at the Belfry in 2002, birdied the 15th to enhance his advantage and leave Seve Ballesteros' team in an unbeatable position and guarantee a half point for the Europeans.
The outcome represented an impressive turn around by McGinley, who had fallen two behind by the second hole as Wiratchant sprinted off with a couple of birdies. However by the seventh hole the pair were level.
A wayward tee-shot at the eighth saw McGinley put his ball in the water and the Thai golfer claim the hole, but from there, the European went on a charge, birdying the next four holes - including a 20-foot putt to win the 11th - to go three-up.
Wiratchant stopped the rot with a birdie putt from off the green to reduce the deficit to two but another birdie for McGinley at the 15th restored his advantage and left him in an unbeatable position.
The half he guaranteed means Europe retains the trophy they won in the competition's inaugural year in 2006.
Lee Westwood scored the first point of the day for the Europeans with a blistering performance after the turn with four birdies in five holes to beat Toru Taniguchi.
The Japanese golfer had the better start, winning the first hole but by the turn the pair were level and from there Westwood accelerated into the distance, birdying the 10th thanks to a fine approach shot that left the ball three feet from the cup.
Another birdie at the par-five 11th doubled Westwood's advantage and a 30-foot putt at the 13th put the Englishman three-up. A two at the par-three 13th all but guaranteed the win for Westwood and that was confirmed at the next hole when he sunk a short putt for a half.