Olazabal keen to turn on the screw

Europe captain Jose-Maria Olazabal has promised to make Friday's opening foursomes a "nightmare" for their Asia hosts when The Royal Trophy gets under way.

Golf News: Jose Maria Olazabal

The seventh staging of the annual tournament between the two continents, held at Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, China, sees Europe trying to regain the title after losing a sudden-death play-off 12 months ago.

Asia captain YE Yang had previously suggested the three-day tournament would be "quite a challenge" for the Europeans considering the strength of their hosts.

So when he followed that up on Thursday by suggesting they would win the Friday fourballs, with his vice-captain Zhang Lian-wei predicting a 4-0 whitewash, Olazabal felt moved to respond.

Turning to his assembled team in the pre-tournament press conference the Ryder Cup-winning captain said: "I don't know if you heard that but captain Yang says we will lose 3-1 and vice-captain Zhang says it will be 4-0.

"Well, I think we had better turn that wishful thinking into the stuff of nightmares."

Yang, however, has confidence in the players he has selected.

"I think we have one of the strongest and best balanced teams Asia has fielded so far," he said.

"There were so many players in contention that I decided I could not pick myself, and I think we are formidable opponents for any team.

"I think we have our best chance so far and we also have the momentum after our victory in 2012."

Ryder Cup winner Paul Lawrie and fellow Scot Stephen Gallacher lead off against the Thai duo of Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Japanese pair Ryo Ishikawa and Hiroyuki Fujita to face Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger of Austria while Korea's KT Kim and HS Kim take on Spaniard Alvaro Quiros and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen.

England's David Howell and the team's third Scot Marc Warren are in the final group against Chinese pair Liang Wen-chong and Wu Ashun.



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