GRACE TAKES ON US AND EUROPEAN TOUR FIELD AT 2012 VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
With half the field expected to be US PGA members, Volvo China Open Champion and Volvo Golf Champions 2012 winner Branden Grace, is seeking his third Volvo title of 2012 at the upcoming Volvo World Match Play Championship. Having already won an astounding three titles in his rookie year, Grace now faces his toughest task yet at as he seeks to better an elite international field at Finca Cortesín, Spain, from May 17-20.
The latest star players to commit to the 24-man elite field include home favourite Sergio García, a two-time winner in Spain last year, American star Brandt Snedeker, ranked 23rd in the world and making his playing debut in Spain and Colombia’s Camilo Villegas, a three-time winner on the US PGA Tour and returning to Finca Cortesín for the first time since 2009. They are joined by 2010 US Open Champion and World No.18, Graeme McDowell, Australia’s John Senden, ranked 31st on the Official World Golf Rankings, and 2011 Masters Champion and World No.13, Charl Schwartzel who have all confirmed their entry into next month’s Championship.
Sergio Garcia, who will join his countrymen, Álvaro Quirós and Rafael Cabrera-Bello in trying to win their first Volvo World Match Play Championship title, is thrilled to have qualified. He explained, “It is tough to qualify for such an elite field so I am delighted to have won my place in the Volvo World Match Play field for next month. I am hitting the ball really well and the confidence is coming so I am looking forward to playing at Finca Cortesín very much. As everyone knows, I love match play and even more, I love playing in Spain in front of my home fans, so I think this will be a great week for me.”
Grace, now ranked 4th on the 2012 Race to Dubai, said after his Volvo China Open victory, “It’s just amazing and just shows you the standard of golf that I am playing right now. To have three wins on The European Tour at this stage of my career is awesome. This tournament is very prestigious and to have two Volvo titles is unbelievable. The two Volvo titles are huge and then the Joburg Open will always be very special as the first one in my career. Now I just have to go back to Europe and win the third Volvo title!”
Players already announced for the 47th edition of this historic event include defending Champion Ian Poulter, world number 10 Justin Rose, 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke, 2010 US PGA Champion Martin Kaymer, two-time US Open Champion Retief Goosen,1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie and 2010 Ryder Cup star Peter Hanson.
The Championship’s exciting format will see the players, divided into eight groups of three, play in a round-robin group format on Thursday and Friday. This will decide which 16 players progress to Saturday’s knock-out stage with the semi-finals and final played on Sunday.
Per Ericsson, President of Volvo Event Management, added, “After an excellent week at the Volvo China Open and an extremely impressive performance by Branden Grace, we are now firmly focused on the Volvo World Match Play Championship and what an exciting field we are gathering for this year’s tournament. I look forward to revealing yet more confirmed players next week.”
Guy Kinnings Managing Director of IMG Golf, EMEA added, “I remember the days when Mark McCormack announced his eight invited players for the match play and there were many players who understandably felt greatly disappointed to be left out. Now we have a transparent qualification criteria developed with our partners, Volvo and the European Tour, ensuring that leading players from around the world have the chance to qualify for this historic event. With Race to Dubai, Ryder Cup and World Ranking points on offer as well as the kudos of some notable scalps on offer, we can’t wait for this world-class field to go head-to-head at the beautiful setting of Finca Cortesín.”