VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY Championship AT FINCA CORTESIN, CASARES - DAY 4
2011 volvo world matchplay championship
1st place: Ian Poulter
2nd place: Luke Donald
3rd place: Nicolas Colsaerts, Martin Kaymer
5th place: Francesco Molinari, Graeme McDowell, Charl Schwartzel, Alvaro Quiros
9th place: Seung-yul Noh, Soren Kjeldsen, Ross Fisher, Johan Edfors, Jhonattan Vegas, Rory McIlroy, Aaron Baddeley, Lee Westwood
17th place: Paul Lawrie, Miguel-Angel Jimenez, Paul Casey, Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen, Y.E. Yang, Ryan Moore, Anders Hansen
Poulter Reigns in Spain
By Graham Otway
After playing 108 holes against many of golf’s best players in hot sun over Finca Cortesín hilly layout, Ian Poulter emerged as the winner of the Volvo World Match Play Championship.
In the final, the first of his six matches in four days which did not go to the 18th green or beyond, he beat his fellow Englishman Luke Donald 2 & 1 to take the Euro 800,000, one of the richest prizes on the European Tour. In doing so Poulter became the first golfer in history to have won both the Volvo and Accenture match play titles and enhanced his already strong reputation as a formidable opponent in the sport’s head-to-head format.
Furthermore as he ended Donald’s run of 12 successive match play victories stretching back to his singles battle with Jim Furyk at last year’s Ryder Cup, he denied his rival the opportunity to overtake Lee Westwood at the top of the world rankings.
Poulter’s victory was not without a mishap. At the eighth hole he fell badly onto a cart path attempting to play a shot from scrubland, but that was forgotten as he savoured winning the biggest title of his career on the seventh birthday of his son – named, like his opponent, Luke.
“It has been pretty special to win here,” said Poulter. “I looked at the names of the previous winners on the first tee and on Luke’s birthday I thought it would be special to put my name on it as well.
“The key to my victory was finally starting to hole putts after a frustrating last few months. And it is a nice boost because there have been a lot of questions asked about the way I have been playing this year.”
Donald had his chances to rein Poulter back particularly on the 15th green when he had a three foot putt to win the hole and square the match, but his effort horseshoed out. Poulter basically sealed the match at the 16th when he hit a brilliant approach to just 18 inches from the hole.
After winning all of his previous matches convincingly Donald said later: “I just ran out of steam. I gave it my best shot but unfortunately came up short.”
In the morning the two semi-finals could not have been contested in more contrasting styles. Donald, according to his opponent, was impossible to play against as he beat Martin Kaymer 5 & 3.
It meant he could take an early lunch and rest for almost two hours while Poulter was continuing his unbroken run in the tournament that went to the 18th green or beyond.
Eventually at the first extra hole he finally overcame Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, who, playing at the highest level in golf for the first time, had exceeded both his and everyone else’s expectations by progressing to the final four having disposed of Major winners Retief Goosen and Graeme McDowell.
“This has been one of the best weeks of my life,” said Colsaerts whose career finally lifted off after ten years on tour when he won the Volvo China Open in Chengdu in April.
“I got to play against all these boys and I pushed them all the way to the end. Confidence is pretty high and this week has been really very, very exciting.”
And even after his heavy defeat that ruled out his immediate return to number one in the world rankings, Kaymer was generous to a fault about the skills of his opponent.
“Luke never really opens the door for you,” said Kaymer. “I won just one hole and he missed the fairway there. Besides that I did not win a hole. If I made a birdie he made a birdie. For me it just felt impossible today.”
“I knew it was going to be difficult. I thought there may be just a little bit of a chance but I just didn’t see it today.”