As expected, the final of the 48th staging of the Volvo World Match Play Championship at the extremely beautiful Thracian Cliffs produced a master-class of short game skills from Graeme McDowell and Thongchai Jaidee. As early as the first hole with Jaidee bunkered off the tee, a delightful up-and-down from off the green rescued a half for the Thai after McDowell had registered a regulation par.
The four golfers from three different continents contesting the semi-finals of the Volvo World Match Play Championship put on a dazzling display of shot-making as they fought it out for a place in the final. Each match produced an opening birdie to set the scene for what turned out to be a morning of hugely impressive golf.
Saturday afternoon is when the quarter-finals of the 48th Volvo World Match Play Championship take place and the action heats up even further. The drama of extra holes in two of the morning matches is thrilling for the many millions watching all over the world, but it comes with a small price for the organisers as the scheduled times for the afternoon have to be tweaked to accommodate the unpredictable nature of match play.
Saturday morning and there were no more bail-out options as the last sixteen golfers went head-to-head in straight knockout. The truly international field that had progressed from the group stages contained stars from no fewer than thirteen countries, including four of the five European Ryder Cup heroes from Medinah.
The Friday afternoon matches began with all but one of the field of 24 still in with a chance of making it through to the knock-out stages. The unseeded golfers in each group were playing their second match of the day, and for those who had not done so well in the morning it looked as though it would be a testing afternoon.
After Thursday's opening group matches in this year's Volvo World Match Play Championship, Friday morning marked the arrival of the unseeded players in each of the eight groups. This included recent winner of the Volvo China Open Brett Rumford, as well as three others who have already won on the European Tour this season.
The opening group matches of the 48th Volvo World Match Play Championship were completed on Thursday as the two seeded players in each group of three went head-to-head.
First staged in 1964, the Volvo World Match Play Championship is celebrating its 50th year in style at the stunningly beautiful Thracian Cliffs. On a course that borders the Black Sea and is packed with thrilling holes and visual delight, the opening shots will be fired on Thursday as the 24 star golfers bid to become the next champion of this historic event.
Graeme McDowell is hoping the Volvo World Match Play Championship’s pioneering visit to Bulgaria will inspire him to go one better than last year when he finished runner-up to Nicolas Colsaerts.
The 24 first-class golfers who make up the field this week, gathered in celebration on the amazing course at Thracian Cliffs.