Sunday, May 19, 2013


   Graeme McDowell feeling on top of the golfing world. Picture by courtesy of Getty Images(c)

Graeme McDowell made amends for last year's defeat in the final by beating Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee to win the World Match Play Championship this afternoon.
The Northern Irishman came from two down after four holes to win 2 and 1 at the Thracian Cliffs course in the Bulgarian coastal resort of Kavarna.
McDowell, 33, had earlier beaten South Africa's Branden Grace 3amd 2 in their semi-final.
Jaidee saw off another South African, Thomas Aiken, by the same score.
It looked as though the Thai player was on his way to victory in the final after he birdied the second and fourth holes, with McDowell producing several vital par saves on the front nine.
However, the 2010 US Open champion worked his way back into contention and a third birdie at the par-five 14th put him in front.
When Jaidee missed a birdie opportunity at the 15th, McDowell made him pay to go two-up, and he wrapped up the title by holing out to halve the par-three 17th.

Graeme McDowell overcame Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee 2 and 1 in the final of the Volvo World Match Play Championship to become the first Irishman/Ulsterman to put his name on the trophy alongside some the golf’s most legendary names.
McDowell, who defeated Branden Grace in his morning semi-final 3 and 2 to book his place in the final at the stunning Thracian Cliffs Beach and Golf Resort in Bulgaria, was delighted to win for the second time in the space of just four weeks following his victory on the US PGA Tour last month. 
Those two successes have propelled McDowell to seventh on the Official World Golf Ranking, while his €800,000 first prize took him to the very top of The European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
Reading the names of the past champions of the 50 year old tournament that was first staged in 1964, McDowell said: “Els, Montgomerie, Westwood, Ballesteros, Norman, Lyle, Faldo, Player, Palmer – it's just crazy stuff really. These guys are legends of The European Tour and legends of golf so to have your name on a trophy this cool is pretty special. 
“I'll drink a couple cold ones tonight and enjoy this.  This is a special moment in my career, no doubt about it.  Wins are super special.  You know, two in four weeks, that's great.  I'm feeling pretty good right now.”
After some seriously explosive golf in both semi-finals – both McDowell and Jaidee played superbly in their respective 3 and 2 wins over Grace and South African Thomas Aiken – the final was an understandably tight match, with Jaidee taking an early lead to go two up through four holes.
A birdie on the seventh saw McDowell half the Thai’s lead before the Northern Irishman made a pair of brilliant back-to-back par saves on the ninth and tenth to stay one down.
With the pressure mounting on the back nine, The 33 year old brought all of his US Open and Ryder Cup winning experience to the fore, birdieing the 12th to level the match before Jaidee dropped a shot on the 14th to hand McDowell the lead for the first time in the match.
“The key putts really this afternoon were with the par saves on 9 and 10; they were massive,” said McDowell, who added a second Volvo title to his CV, having made his breakthrough professional victory at the 2002 Volvo Scandinavian Masters.
“I sensed from Thongchai after that that he was starting to fatigue a little bit.  I really sensed a bit of an opening.  I just had to hit the shots and I did that well coming down the stretch.  The mistake he made on 14 and then the birdie I made on 15 was really the telling stuff and I managed t close it out from there.”

Volvo World Match Play Championship
Day 4 results:
Thongchai Jaidee bt Thomas Aiken 3 and 2
Graeme McDowell bt Branden Grace 3 and 2
McDowell bt Thongchai Jaidee 2 and 1.



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