The Irish pair was teamed for Saturday morning foursomes, where they defeated Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa, 4 and 3. That afternoon, they returned for a fourball session that saw them prevail over S.K. Ho and Zhang Lian-wei, 2 and 1.
They were on their own for Sunday’s singles play, with McDowell handling Randhawa, 3 and 2, while McGinley rallied from 2 down to defeat Lian-wei, 2 and 1. McDowell had taken an early 3 up lead in his match, before Randhawa came back to tie it at 11. European team captain Seve Ballesteros conferred with McDowell to seemingly worthwhile effect.
“Seve said things weren’t looking too great on the golf course,” McDowell said. “I realized my match would be important and every point we put on the board was going to be big, but I didn’t realize how close it was going to be in the end.”
Europe had led 6-2 after Saturday’s play, but faltered in singles action on Sunday. Henrik Stenson was the only other European beside McDowell and McGinley to prevail on Sunday.
For Ballesteros, captaincy in events such as these has become something of a part-time occupation and an opportunity for him to bask in a spotlight that has eluded him in recent years. He has turned this trick in the Ryder Cup, his own Seve Trophy event and now the Royal Trophy.
“The Asian team showed a tremendous game and sportsmanship,” Ballesteros said. “This event is just the start and I think we are making history here.”