England’s Ian Poulter won the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Finca Cortesin in Spain, beating his countryman Luke Donald by 2 and 1 in the first all-English final since the event began in 1964.
Donald could have risen to Number 1 on the Official World Golf Ranking had he secured the victory, but some scrappy play in the final cost him the chance to overtake Lee Westwood.
“It was disappointing,” he said. “I ran out of steam a bit and didn’t take the opportunities I had.”
Poulter went behind three times in the final before a monster putt across the 12th green saw him back on level terms with Donald. He took the lead at the 14th then turned the screw with a superb shot into the difficult par-4 16th, a tap-in birdie saw him move two-up.
At the par-3 17th, both players’ tee shots came up short of the putting surface. Donald chipped up and was given the putt, leaving Poulter with two to get down for the title. Although his putt from off the green came up short, he rammed home an eight-foot par effort to secure the victory and a winner’s cheque for €800,000.
“It was pretty special to win this today,” said Poulter on the day of his son Luke’s seventh birthday. “I finally started holing some putts.”
Poulter displayed fantastic scrapping, matchplay skills throughout the week with all five of his matches leading up to the final going to the 18th hole.
In his semi-final, Poulter came back from three down against Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts. The Englishman’s never-say-die attitude helped him to take the match to sudden-death where he triumphed at the first extra hole.
In the other semi-final, Luke Donald faced Martin Kaymer in a repeat of the final of this year’s WGC – Accenture Match Play. The result in this contest was the same with Kaymer unable to match the relentless precision of the Englishman.
“He played like a machine a little bit,” said Kaymer. “It was unbelievable – he hits the fairways, all the greens and he makes the putts.”
With the victory Poulter moves back into the World’s top-15. He also becomes the only man to win both the Volvo Match Play and the Accenture Match Play Championships – he took victory in the latter back in 2010.
Donald remains second on the Official World Golf Ranking but will have another chance to displace Lee Westwood at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth next week.
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