EXCITEMENT AND FIERCE COMPETITION GUARANTEED WITH VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY DRAW
The draw for the 47th Volvo World Match Play Championship has been completed at Finca Cortesín – and as usual, it’s created many fascinating stories and match-ups. At least one Spaniard is guaranteed a place in the last 16 round after Álvaro Quirós and Sergio García were drawn in the same group, while defending champion Ian Poulter has been placed alongside John Senden and compatriot Tom Lewis in the Gary Player group.
The world-class 24-man field was divided into eight groups, named after golfing legends, and Volvo co-founders Gustaf Larson and Assar Gabrielsson. The top 16 players in the field on the Official World Golf Rankings were seeded and placed into their respective groups, with the first seed being paired with the 16th, the second with the 15th, and the other seeds following this same pattern.
With plenty of other stars and major champions being unseeded, there was an air of suspense at the draw as the final names were placed into their respective groups.
The Ian Woosnam group will certainly draw in the galleries as García and Quirós square up in the first contest of the group, before they both get the chance to take on Japan’s Tetsuji Heratsuka.
With one group named after Spanish hero and match play legend Seve Ballesteros; it simply had to be that another Spaniard, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, was drawn there alongside former world number one Martin Kaymer and Richard Finch.
With 13 different nationalities being represented at the beautiful and scenic Finca Cortesín, the potential for national rivalries to be played out on Thursday and Friday was definitely there.
Second seed Justin Rose, reigning Open Champion Darren Clarke, and Robert Rock will battle it out in the all-British Assar Gabrielsson group. With an international feel to this year’s tournament, that trio will certainly attract plenty of attention.
Volvo Grand Slam chaser Branden Grace is in the Mark McCormack group with Denmark’s Thomas Björn and US PGA Tour star Brandt Snedeker. Grace, winner of both January’s Volvo Golf Champions and last month’s Volvo China Open, will be hoping to celebrate his 24th birthday on Sunday in style.
“My expectations are the same as every week – I’m definitely going to try and win it. I think I’m playing well enough to get on top again this week, and it would be awesome to get the Volvo slam.”
The unpredictable and enthralling nature of match play golf leaves all the groups wide open. None more so than the Arnold Palmer group – where South Africa’s major champions Charl Schwartzel and Retief Goosen were drawn alongside 2011 Volvo China Open champion Nicolas Colsaerts.
With 2012 being a Ryder Cup year, both Graeme McDowell and Robert Karlsson, will be keen to advance from the Gustaf Larson group. McDowell, one of six major champions in the field, is regarded as a fine exponent of the match play format, while Karlsson is a match for anyone on his day. Jbe Kruger, winner of February’s Avantha Masters, will be doing all he can to stop the European pair advancing.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s Peter Hanson will be attempting to become the first Scandinavian to win the Volvo World Match Play Championship when he comes up against Paul Lawrie and Colombia’s flamboyant Camilo Villegas in the Greg Norman group. Hanson’s been in fine form of late, while Lawrie will want to celebrate his 500th European Tour event in style.
Defending champion Poulter will get the action underway on Thursday when he takes on Australia’s Senden. While the home crowds will be out in force for Garcia’s match up with Quiros later that day.
With so many stars in the field, playing in such an exciting format, there will be plenty of world class on show throughout the week.
The Volvo World Match Play Championship takes place between 17-20 May at Finca Cortesín, Spain.