Europe completes decisive win over Asia to retain Royal Trophy

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BANGKOK, Thailand - Lee Westwood won his singles match and fellow Ryder Cup star Darren Clarke halved to lead Europe to a 12 1/2 to 3 1/2 win over Asia in the Royal Trophy team tournament Sunday.

European team led by captain Seve Ballesteros of Spain, back row center, pose with the trophy after the team won over Asian team at the 2nd Royal Trophy men's team tournament, Asia against Europe, at the Amata Spring Country Club course in Chonburi province, southeastern Thailand Sunday Jan. 14, 2007. The European team won with scores 12.5 to 3.5. Team members are clockwise from top left, Darren Clarke of Ireland, Anthony Wall of England, Ballesteros, Robert Karlsson of Sweden, Niclas Fasth of Sweden, Johan Edfors of Sweden, Paul McGinley of Ireland, Lee Westwood of England and Henrik Stensson of Sweden.  Associated Press
Associated Press
European team led by captain Seve Ballesteros of Spain, back row center, pose with the trophy after the team won over Asian team at the 2nd Royal Trophy men's team tournament, Asia against Europe, at the Amata Spring Country Club course in Chonburi province, southeastern Thailand Sunday Jan. 14, 2007. The European team won with scores 12.5 to 3.5. Team members are clockwise from top left, Darren Clarke of Ireland, Anthony Wall of England, Ballesteros, Robert Karlsson of Sweden, Niclas Fasth of Sweden, Johan Edfors of Sweden, Paul McGinley of Ireland, Lee Westwood of England and Henrik Stensson of Sweden.

Seve Ballesteros' European team took a commanding 6 1/2 to 1 1/2 lead into the final day of play at the Amata Spring Country Club after winning both the fourballs and foursomes portions of the tournament. Asia needed seven wins from seven singles matches Sunday.

"It's fantastic. Asia played great but Europe played better," Ballesteros said. "Europe played unbelievable golf. It was no surprise because they beat the U.S. badly."

Englishman Westwood rallied from a point down to produce four birdies and beat Toru Taniguchi of Japan 4 and 3, and Ireland's Clarke halved with Thailand's Prom Meesawat to start play on Sunday and put the tournament out of reach.

Clarke, trailing by one stroke, took advantage of a bogey from Meesawat on the 17th hole to get back into the match before making a birdie on 18 to share the point.

Under tournament rules, the defending champion can win the title if it is the first to reach eight points.

"Seve said he wanted me and Darren out first because we were quick and he felt he could count on us for at least one point," Westwood said. "That's 13 matches in a row for me representing Europe without losing - there's nothing unlucky about 13 for me."

The Europeans went on to win four of the remaining six matches, with Paul McGinley of Ireland beating Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand 2 and 1, and Swede Johan Edfors downing S.K. Ho of South Korea 3 and 2.

Englishman Anthony Wall overcame Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan 4 and 2, while Ryder Cup player Robert Karlsson of Sweden beat Asian Tour No. 1 Jeev Milkha Singh 3 and 2. Henrik Stenson of Sweden halved with Y. E. Yang.

Thonchai Jaidee of Thailand won Asia's only match of the day, beating Swede Niclas Fasth 2 and 1.

Europe, which won last year's inaugural Royal Trophy 9-7, won Friday's foursomes 3 1/2 to 1/2 and Saturday's fourballs 3-1.

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