Classy Quirós beats Hiratsuka to keep Volvo World Match Play Championship dreams alive
The first day of the 47th Volvo World Match Play Championship at Finca Cortesín provided an interesting story, with Brandt Snedeker beating Thomas Björn, despite having to tee off with only ten clubs in the bag.
All the players had full bags today, and with 13 different nationalities being represented and half the field US Tour players, there was plenty of colour and charisma out on the fairways.
Home favourite Álvaro Quirós lost to compatriot Sergio García yesterday, but Quirós delighted the home crowds in his match with Tetsuji Hiratsuka - making some good putts, in his 5&4 success over the Japanese star.
“From the beginning of the season until now including yesterday against Sergio (Garcia), I’ve started putting better. If I hole two or three good putts, I’ll probably end up with a victory.”
Rafael Cabrera-Bello gave the home fans more to cheer about, as he added to his win over Martin Kaymer, with a 4&2 triumph over Richard Finch, to move through to the knockout stages.
As always, there was some fine golf on show, especially on the 10th, where despite coming close, nobody managed to claim the hole-in-one prize – the all-new Volvo V40.
Thomas Björn bounced back from his opening day disappointment, with an impressive 2&1 victory over Volvo Grand Slam chaser Branden Grace. The Dane felt happier with his game today.
“I got a better start today more than anything. Yesterday, after five weeks off, it was just very rusty and couldn't find the pace on anything. So it was better today.”
The most experienced man in the field, Retief Goosen, is another player who’ll be here at the weekend, thanks to his one hole success over 2011 Volvo China Open winner Nicolas Colsaerts.
Tom Lewis is one of ten players making their debuts at the tournament – and the Portugal Masters winner recorded a one-hole victory over John Senden – a result that sees Lewis also progress to the knockout stages; along with defending champion Ian Poulter, who defeated the Australian yesterday.
Thursday wasn’t a good day for Robert Rock, as he came across an inspired Justin Rose. However, Rock bounced back from that loss, with a 2-hole victory over last year’s Open Champion Darren Clarke.
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, who prevailed over Sweden’s Peter Hanson on the first day – is also through to the weekend’s knockout stages – courtesy of his halve against Colombian Camilo Villegas.
Meanwhile, Robert Karlsson kept his hopes of progressing to the weekend alive - a birdie at the par five 18th saw the Swede salvage a halve against JBe Kruger.