Saturday, May 21, 2011


Luke Donald will have another chance to go to World Number One for the first time on Sunday - but he will have to beat Martin Kaymer again to keep that hope alive.
With Lee Westwood losing to Ian Poulter either Donald or Kaymer will take over at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking if they lift the Volvo World Match Play Championship title at Finca Cortesin in Spain.

But, three months after their clash in the final of golf's other match play event in Arizona, they meet at the semi-final stage this time.

Whoever triumphs - Donald won 3 and 2 at Dove Mountain and is now on a run of 13 match play wins in a row going back to last October's Ryder Cup - will then have to take on Poulter or Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts for the first prize of €800,000.

Donald was relieved to come through at the first extra hole against Swede Johan Edfors - he had been two down with three to play - and then in the quarter-finals beat Masters Tournament championship Charl Schwartzel on the last.

"I escaped this morning," he said, "but then I played a lot better and made it hard for Charl."

He was round in a six under par 66 to win by two holes.

He believes he has the psychological edge on Kaymer after beating him so recently, but he also admits he has been under the weather for the last three weeks.

Kaymer beat Spain's Alvaro Quiros by two holes to continue a superb week which began with him dispensing with the services of Scottish caddie Craig Connelly.
His brother Philip is carrying his bag instead and will continue in next week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth before a replacement is found.

Poulter twice had to go to the last green to beat first Westwood and then another Ryder Cup teammate in Francesco Molinari.

"I didn't make any putts, he did and he had a couple more breaks than me," said Westwood. "That's the frustrating thing about match play and especially 18-hole match play - sometimes it's not reflective of how the players are playing."

Colsaerts, seeded 21st of the 24 players in the field, is the surprise package, but it was only a month ago that he had his first European Tour win in China.

He beat US Open Champion Graeme McDowell in the quarter-finals after McDowell had first got the better of his all-Irish clash with Rory McIlroy 3 and 2.

McIlroy decided not to say much to McDowell during their game, but quickly discovered that his close friend and Ryder Cup partner appeared to have decided the same thing.
McDowell found out the 22 year old was not in a generous mood either over some short putts, but it was McIlroy who struggled on the greens.

He three-putted the first and eighth, and after falling four down at the 11th flung his putter away, then on the next green missed a chance to narrow the gap.

Birdies did come on the 13th and 14th, but McDowell finished him off after holing from the fringe two holes later - again from further away than McIlroy.

"I missed five chances in the middle that really cost me - I was getting very frustrated," said McIlroy. "When you are going against someone of that calibre you need to take your chances."

The best finish of the week came in Schwartzel's morning match against defending champion Ross Fisher.

Two down with two to play, Fisher birdied the 17th and then hit a fairway wood to ten feet on the par five last.

He had come from four behind to bet American Ryan Moore in a group match, but Schwartzel, also needing a wood, hit his shot to within six feet of the flag and won with a matching eagle.

In contrast, Korean teenager Nh Seung-yul took a bogey six there to lose to Quiros, while Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas went down on the same green to Colsaerts and Molinari had a 3 and 2 victory over Australian Aaron Baddeley.





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