ALL THREE SPANIARDS KEEP DREAMS OF MATCH PLAY GLORY ALIVE
With the arrival of the weekend matches at the Volvo World Match Play Championship, comes the excitement and thrill of the knockout stages. The showpiece battle between defending champion Ian Poulter and home favourite Álvaro Quirós was the match everyone was talking about. Poulter had looked commanding in the group stages, but he came up against an inspired Quirós in the morning session. The Andalucía native claiming a fine 4&3 win to reach the last eight.
“Well, I'm very happy. Obviously Ian (Poulter) is always a difficult guy to beat, even when he's not playing at his best. The thing I’m most happy about today is that I kept my game together.”
Out of the 16 players to make it this far, Sergio García has been among the most impressive at Finca Cortesín. García won both his group matches, and England’s Tom Lewis couldn’t halt the Spaniard’s winning run in the first match out on course – a birdie three at the 15th helping Sergio also progress 4&3.
Nicolas Colsaerts continues to blossom at Volvo events. Last year’s Volvo China Open champion had gone down the 18th in both his group stage matches, but some fantastic golf from the Belgian against second seed Justin Rose, and a good start, helped Colsaerts prevail 4&3.
“We all knew that whoever drew Justin (Rose) was going to have quite a tough game, so I told myself that I needed to have a better start than I did in the first two rounds. I did that – and I put Justin in a situation he hadn’t seen this week, so the plan worked accordingly.”
Meanwhile, the only Swede left in the draw, Robert Karlsson, was involved in a thrilling battle with Rafael Cabrera-Bello. Karlsson had been 2 up at the turn, but Cabrera-Bello fought back strongly to send the match to the 18th – where he set up the prospect of a thrilling quarterfinal against Quirós, with a winning birdie.
Graeme McDowell, one of three major champions left in the draw, has looked world-class this week. The Northern Irishman made it through to the quarterfinals, after firing six birdies in his 3&2 win over Richard Finch.
With so many tight contests taking place yesterday – the fans were treated to four dramatic play-offs. One of those involved American star Brandt Snedeker, who won his group play-off at the first extra hole, to set up a fascinating contest with Colombia’s Camilo Villegas. Snedeker played some entertaining golf again today, to also move through 3&2.
The high-class international field assembled for this year’s Volvo World Match Play Championship, contained 13 different nationalities. Of the four South Africans who teed it up on Thursday and Friday – only double US Open champion Retief Goosen remained this morning. Goosen will still be here for the last eight matches – a 3&2 triumph over Robert Rock sending him through.
Paul Lawrie will also be back out on course for the afternoon session, after he continued his undefeated run in Spain, with a comprehensive 5&4 victory over Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn.
THIS AFTERNOON’S QUARTER-FINAL MATCHES:
Sergio GARCÍA v Graeme MCDOWELL
Paul LAWRIE V Retief GOOSEN
Brandt SNEDEKER v Nicolas COLSAERTS
Álvaro QUIRÓS v Rafael CABRERA-BELLO