G-Mac cover shot makes World Match Play sense
STORY SO FAR
ENGLISH duo Ian Poulter and Justin Rose entered day three of the Volvo World Match Play Championship as market leaders, but the great friends were sent packing at the last-16 stage, leaving Graeme McDowell and Nicolas Colsaerts jostling for favouritism going into the semi-finals.
Poulter found local hero Alvaro Quiros too hot to handle, while Rose was seen off by a buzzing Colsaerts. McDowell cruised past Richard Finch and then beat Sergio Garcia at the 19th hole of an epic quarter-final to go through to the last four.
Colsaerts crushed Brandt Snedeker to book his place for the final day, but the most relaxing Saturday was enjoyed by Paul Lawrie, who overwhelmed Thomas Bjorn 5&4 and then destroyed Retief Goosen 6&5.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello completed the last-four line-up by defeating Robert Karlsson and Quiros, retaining a Spanish presence in the tournament.
Nicolas Colsaerts versus Paul Lawrie
Graeme McDowell versus Rafael Cabrera-Bello
BEST OUTRIGHT PRICES
12-5 G McDowell, 5-2 N Colsaerts, 3 P Lawrie 15-4 R Cabrera Bello
BEST SEMI-FINAL PRICES
4-5 N Colsaerts v 6-5 P Lawrie; 4-6 G McDowell v 13-10 R Cabrera-Bello
THE earlyexit of Martin Kaymer, who missed a tiddler on the 18th green to surrender to Richard Finch in their decisive Group A clash, was a hammerblow for RPSPORT followers, but Nicolas Colsaerts is still going strong for those who took therecommended 14-1.
The Belgian bomber, who lost in the semi-finals to eventual champion Ian Poulter last year, has slowly worked his way into top form on a course which suits him perfectly and he will take plenty of beating on the final day.
Paul Lawrie has enjoyed a comfortable passage to the last four, and the gritty Scot will be pleased to see showers and a stiff breeze forecast for the final day, but he will have to up his game to live with the increasingly confident Colsaerts.
The younger man has a huge length advantage and is developing into one of the European Tour’s finest players. He is on the brink of breaking into the world’s top 50 and will be relishing today’s encounter.
The second semi-final should be a tight affair, but the likely weather may give Graeme McDowell an edge. G-Mac is a master of handling windy conditions, while Cabrera-Bello’s loose swing can malfunction.
McDowell has proven himself in matchplay combat at the highest level – he holed the winning putt for Europe in the last Ryder Cup – and he can be fancied to drain the putts that matter.
Punters should be expecting a Colsaerts versus McDowell final, which would be a cracking contest that could go either way. Those on Colsaerts at fancy prices should consider a cover-shot on McDowell.
G McDowell, 3pts 12-5 bet365