|By Marketwired .||
|October 9, 2013 11:39 PM EDT||
HONG KONG, CHINA -- (Marketwired) -- 10/09/13 -- Nicolas Colsaerts will be back in action at the Royal Trophy in December, eager to erase the disappointment of Europe's heart-breaking play-off defeat in last year's thrilling encounter.
Colsaerts, the biggest hitter in world golf, was involved in the sudden death decider that saw K.T. Kim break the eight-all deadlock with a brilliant birdie on the first extra hole. The Belgian star's own birdie putt to extend the play-off grazed the hole, but that setback merely whetted his appetite for more major competition team golf, following his triumphant Ryder Cup debut last year.
He becomes the first name on European Captain José Maria Olazábal's team sheet and the Asian Team will not need reminding that he was unbeaten in his three matches on his Royal Trophy debut. His outrageous 60-footer for a final day eagle on the 15th hole at the Empire Hotel & Country Club was one of the highlights of the week.
Colsaerts had already served notice that he is a formidable match-play competitor by winning the prestigious World Match Play Championship, a victory which helped him earn him a Ryder Cup wild card from Olazábal. It is rare to see a rookie earn a Captain's pick, but Colsaerts justified Olazábal's faith in him with one of the most dazzling debut performances in the competition's history. He fired eight birdies and an eagle to carry Lee Westwood to a famous Four-ball victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.
Colsaerts' affection for the team format was obvious as he looked forward to linking up with Ryder Cup legend Olazábal once again. He said: "I am very happy to be nominated for the European Team for the next edition of the Royal Trophy.
"Team match-play golf is very special and a format that I thoroughly enjoy -- the competitive spirit, the team camaraderie, the head-to-head element and the passion that it generates for the players and the fans.
"The Royal Trophy is a very important and significant event and I take representing Europe very seriously. I am very much looking forward to playing under Captain Olazábal once again."
"The previous edition of the Royal Trophy was a bitter-sweet event for me. I really enjoyed the matches, the venue in Brunei and being together with my teammates. But the Asian victory on a play-off is something that I will do everything I can to change in this coming edition of the event at Dragon Lake Golf Club in China. I am coming to Guangzhou determined to win as many points as possible for our European Team and we are travelling to China to take the Royal Trophy back to Europe.
"I know that Asia will feature a strong side -- but we are coming to this series of matches determined to play our best golf and to secure the victory for Europe."
Captain Olazábal's nomination of Colsaerts as his first pick brought a wry smile from Chinese golfing great Zhang Lian-wei, who will serve as Vice Captain for Asia's first Major winner, Y.E. Yang.
Zhang Lian-wei said: "We take Captain José Maria Olazábal's appointment of Nicolas Colsaerts seriously. Nicolas is a very powerful player and one of the longest hitters in the world. Certainly this is a positive element for them and this is likely the reason why he was nominated for the play-off match in Brunei last year.
"But we should not forget that Y.E. Yang and K.T. Kim were able to counter Nicolas' great driving and accurate approach to the green on that historic 18th hole with a magnificent putt that secured our victory in Brunei.
"It is true that Nicolas' tremendous distance will allow him to attack some of the par fours and reach many of the par fives at Dragon Lake in two shots. But I am also very confident that our very well constructed Asian Team will be capable of countering that with accuracy, knowledge of the golf course, well thought-out strategy and excellent short games.
"This upcoming edition of the Royal Trophy certainly promises to be a monumental battle and I call on the golf fans in China to come to Dragon Lake in December and support our Asian Team. We really want their cheering us on and I encourage them to attend the matches and support our players as we confront the Europeans in this highly competitive series of matches."
"The next edition of the Royal Trophy to be played at Dragon Lake Golf Club on 20-22 December 2013 is set to be nothing short of spectacular. Two fantastic teams led by Y.E. Yang and José Maria Olazábal respectively, the weather promises to be ideal, Dragon Lake's Asian Games layout will be in truly pristine condition and a tremendous amount of pride is at stake for the players," said Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.
"The Royal Trophy holders confronting the Ryder Cup winners - it will be a real clash of giants," concluded Lincoln Venancio.
About Royal Trophy
The seventh edition of the Royal Trophy - Europe vs Asia Golf Championship will be held at Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province in the People's Republic of China on 20-22 December 2013. The continents will compete in a series of 16 foursomes, four-ball and singles matches. The Royal Trophy Players' Committee is comprised of Sir Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam OBE, José Maria Olazábal, Paul McGinley, Isao Aoki, Naomichi 'Joe' Ozaki and Jeev Milkha Singh.
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