GARCIA & CABRERA-BELLO VICTORIOUS AT VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY
The first day at the 47th Volvo World Match Play Championship at Finca Cortesín promised to be an exciting one – and it didn’t disappoint. With eight matches out on course, and the prospect of some fascinating duels, the spectators turned out in force.
The opening match saw defending champion Ian Poulter take on Australia’s John Senden in the Gary Player group. Poulter’s attempts to become the first Englishman to defend the Volvo World Match Play title, started well, as the match play master sealed a 3&2 victory.
US Tour star Brandt Snedeker’s preparations weren’t ideal for his match with Denmark’s Thomas Björn. The 31-year-old had to tee off with only ten borrowed clubs, with his own set delayed in transit from the States. However, Snedeker was unaffected by the drama - some flawless golf saw him to a 5&4 victory.
“I made key putts for birdie that got the momentum going my way. Overall it was a great day, considering I started the day with ten clubs in the bag. My bags arrived about the fourth hole, I got the rest of the clubs I thought I might need, and was able to survive after that.”
The battle of the Spaniards went the way of Sergio García, as Wednesday’s Pro-Am winner closed out home favourite Álvaro Quirós. The big-hitting Quirós birdied the 10th – the location for this year’s hole-in-one competition, where the players have the chance to win the all-new Volvo V40. However, García’s consistent ball striking helped him turn the deficit around, and claim a 2&1 win.
England’s Justin Rose looked in a rush to get his first win of the week – the second seed birdied the first five holes, before sealing a very impressive 7&6 victory against compatriot Robert Rock.
Top seed Martin Kaymer didn’t get the start he was looking for, as composed Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello triumphed in the last match out on course 3&2. The contest between former Ryder Cup teammates Graeme McDowell and Robert Karlsson provided the large galleries with a thrilling finish, with the Northern Irishman snatching victory at the 18th thanks to a birdie.
With six major champions in the 24-man field, the quality of golf was high. Last year’s Masters champion Charl Schwartzel salvaged a halve from his match with 2011 Volvo China Open winner Nicolas Colsaerts, after also making birdie at the last. Meanwhile, Paul Lawrie celebrated his 500th European Tour appearance with a 2&1 win over the in-form Peter Hanson.
With sixteen matches taking place on Friday, there will be much more outstanding golf on show at Finca Cortesín.