Thursday, October 16, 2014




Pablo Larrazábal chipped in on the last to keep alive his Volvo World Match Play Championship hopes at London Golf Club.
The Spaniard holed a pitch from the rough for a birdie four on the 18th to beat Stephen Gallacher 1 up.
That leaves the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship winner tied with Shane Lowry, who he faces tomorrow, on two points in the Gabrielsson pool.
Larrazábal raced out of the blocks to win the first two holes, but Gallacher won three of the next four to take the lead.
The pair traded blows until the 12th, when Gallacher's bogey allowed the Spaniard to level things up, and they went down the last all square.
Despite hitting a Volvo advertising board, the Scot looked well set to take the hole with Larrazábal finding the sand and then the rough, but the former Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year stunned his opponent by chipping in from the bank.
Gallacher was left with a 15 footer to halve the match but he came up short, ending his hopes of reaching the quarter-final.
A thrilled Larrazábal did his best to describe the winning moment.
He said: "(The hole) looked terrible all the way. Driver to the bunker, I stride to hit a nine iron, I pull it a little bit into the thickest rough on the golf course and I had 50 metres to the hole. I hit a six iron as hard as I could, trying to make five and trying to have a half point today (so I could) go out there and try to do my job tomorrow.
"But yeah, the ball was sitting great. I thought I had the chance to putt it close and to make five and to put the pressure on Stevie - Stevie had a good lie - but I holed it and it went in, happy days."
In the other game in the group, Victor Dubuisson kept his 100 per cent record with a 3 and 2 victory against Lowry.
World Number Five Henrik Stenson produced a masterclass on the back nine to take victory against Francesco Molinari.
The Italian went round in seven under and led by three after four holes, but still saw his chances of reaching the last eight ended by a 2 and 1 defeat to the Swede.
Stenson, who halved his opening match against George Coetzee, was two down at the turn, but gained holes at the tenth and 11th to level things up.
Molinari birdied the 12th to regain the lead, but Stenson eagled the 15th to move back to all square.
Stenson followed that up with back-to-back birdies which secured a stunning victory and set up a showdown with Thongchai Jaidee on Friday.
The Swede said: "I felt like I was playing better and better as the round went on. I just figured yesterday I didn't take my chances against George when I had them.
"Today I felt I needed to take them and rolled some nice putts in to close out the match, so that was very satisfying."
Jaidee, last year's runner-up, missed the chance to book his spot in the last eight as he was beaten 2 and 1 by Coetzee, who moves to three points.
Reigning champion Graeme McDowell suffered only his third defeat in the championships as he fell 2 and 1 to Mikko Ilonen.
McDowell had won 15 of his previous 17 matches at the Volvo World Match Play, with Nicolas Colsaerts the only man to have beaten him.
But Irish Open Champion Ilonen produced a superb start and managed to hold off a trademark McDowell comeback to secure his first win of the competition.
Despite going two under on the front nine, McDowell found himself three down and that became four on the tenth.
However, the Northern Irishman produced birdies on the 11th, 13th and 15th to close to within one, but Ilonen kept his composure to complete the par four 17th in three shots and take victory.
"I'm disappointed to lose today but Mikko was incredibly solid," McDowell said. "I felt like I played the best golf the first five holes but he putted better and that was the difference."
Three consecutive birdies on the ninth, tenth and 11th ensured Joost Luiten followed his opening-day win over Ilonen with another success, the Dutchman beating Alexander Levy 4 and 3.
In the McCormack pool, the four players head into the final group match tied on two points each.
Jamie Donaldson recovered from his defeat against Paul Casey by beating Jonas Blixt 3 and 2, while Casey fell to a 2 and 1 defeat to Patrick Reed.
A delighted Donaldson said: "Today was important to get off to a good start. (I) played well for most of the day and (it is) nice to come up with the victory."





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