Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

McDowell claims World Match Play title

Graeme McDowell has won his first European Tour title since 2010
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland hits his tee-shot on the second hole during the last 16 matches on Day Three of the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort on May 18, 2013 in Kavarna, Bulgaria.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland hits his tee-shot on the second hole during the last 16 matches on Day Three of the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort on May 18, 2013 in Kavarna, Bulgaria. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
(L-R front row) Carl Pettersson of Sweden; Felipe Aguilar of Chile; Francesco Molinari of Italy; Thorbjorn Olesen
of Denmark; Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium; Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand; George Coetzee of South Africa; Thomas Aiken of South Africa; Graeme McDowell
of Northern Ireland (L-R back row) Richard Sterne
of South Africa; Brett Rumford of Australia; Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand; Branden Grace of South Africa; Scott Jamieson of Scotland; Peter Hanson
of Sweden; Geoff Ogilvy of Australia; Chris Wood
of England; Bo Van Pelt of the USA; Henrik Stenson
of Sweden; Jamie Donaldson of Wales; Shane Lowry 
of Ireland; Stephen Gallacher of Scotland; Ian Poulter; Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano pose for a group photograph following practice for the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort on May 14, 2013 in Kavarna, Bulgaria.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
(L-R front row) Carl Pettersson of Sweden; Felipe Aguilar of Chile; Francesco Molinari of Italy; Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark; Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium; Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand; George Coetzee of South Africa; Thomas Aiken of South Africa; Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland (L-R back row) Richard Sterne of South Africa; Brett Rumford of Australia; Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand; Branden Grace of South Africa; Scott Jamieson of Scotland; Peter Hanson of Sweden; Geoff Ogilvy of Australia; Chris Wood of England; Bo Van Pelt of the USA; Henrik Stenson of Sweden; Jamie Donaldson of Wales; Shane Lowry of Ireland; Stephen Gallacher of Scotland; Ian Poulter; Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano pose for a group photograph following practice for the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort on May 14, 2013 in Kavarna, Bulgaria. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Graeme McDowell has become the first Irish winner of the Volvo World Match Play Championship with a hard-fought victory over Thongchai Jaidee in Bulgaria.

McDowell, runner-up last year to Ryder Cup team-mate Nicolas Colsaerts, only took the lead for the first time in the final on the 14th hole after several vital par saves on the front nine at Thracian Cliffs.

But the top seed then birdied the 15th to move two ahead and sealed a 2&1 win on the 17th to claim the first prize of £675,000 and a first European Tour title since 2010 to go with his win at the RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour last month.

Jaidee had the consolation of £338,000 as runner-up, but could be forgiven for wondering how his name had not joined the distinguished list of winners on the trophy which includes the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Nick Faldo and Ernie Els.

Birdies at the second and fourth took the former Thai paratrooper two up, but he missed from eight feet to go further ahead on the next after McDowell had scrambled a par despite taking a penalty drop from an unplayable lie left of the green.

McDowell won the seventh with a birdie to reduce his deficit but was grateful to see Jaidee miss from six feet on the next to win the hole, while McDowell then holed two lengthy par putts on the ninth and 10th to stay in touch.

A superb pitch to two feet on the 12th gave McDowell a winning birdie and got him back on level terms, the momentum seemingly firmly with the former US Open champion now.

Jaidee pulled his drive into a bush on the 14th and the resulting bogey handed McDowell the lead for the first time, which he increased with a birdie from close range on the 16th.

Both players had reached the final with 3&2 wins in the morning's semi-finals, McDowell beating Branden Grace and Jaidee defeating another South African in Thomas Aiken.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre