Colsaerts hits the jackpot with another Volvo win in Spain
Volvo-event specialist Nicolas Colsaerts has been crowned the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Champion, after defeating Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell in the final at the 18th hole.
This year’s tournament at Finca Cortesín saw 24 of the world’s best players go head-to-head, creating tension at every turn, and many memorable moments. The final was no different, as 2011 Volvo China Open winner Colsaerts, tussled and spared with McDowell all the way, before prevailing at the death.
“It's such a big tournament that you should be all fired up. Match play, it's a different format. But you know, the Volvo event at Fancourt is just an unbelievable place, too. China after last year, it's always going to be a tournament that's close to my heart. So yeah, Volvo has been very, very, very kind to me in the last year and the half.”
Colsaerts came to Spain having never finished lower than fourth in a Volvo event. The Belgian beat McDowell at the quarterfinal stage of last year’s Volvo World Match Play, and after staging a heroic comeback against Paul Lawrie to reach the final this time round, the European Tour’s longest hitter started the biggest round of his career with plenty of confidence.
Despite the wind gusting at up to 30mph, and some tricky pin positions being set up for the final, Colsaerts holed a long eagle putt at the 3rd to move ahead. McDowell however, has been a mark of consistency all week, and he was never going to make things easy for his opponent.
The players were exchanging blows frequently, in what was developing into a classic match play contest. McDowell looked relaxed enough, happily cruising around between holes in his buggy. But his steady game began to desert him - a miss-hit at Finca Cortesín’s signature 13th hole, allowed Colsaerts to claim a two hole lead.
McDowell, who sank the winning putt at the 2010 Ryder Cup, refused to give up. However, it was Colsaerts who edged closer to becoming the first Belgian to win two European Tour events, with a winning par four at the 16th to restore his two-hole advantage.
The battle wasn’t over there though – Colsaerts showing that he is human after all, missing a short putt at 17 to hand McDowell a lifeline. But the 29-year-old has shown his resilience in the face of adversity all week – and he sealed the biggest win of his career with a par at 18. So, Ian Poulter reigned in 2011, but Colsaerts keeps his remarkable Volvo tournament record going, to claim a winner’s cheque of €700,000, and the prestigious honour of being the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Champion.
“Where do I start? I felt that I had a pretty good shot at it last year in the same format, and I was a little disappointed not to get to the final. You know, two days ago I was in my room taking a nap thinking I was going to fly home. It means so much to be standing here, it's fantastic.”