Wednesday 29 January 2020

McDowell looks for Sunday reunion

Most sportsmen will insist they never look beyond their next opponent in a tournament, but Graeme McDowell refreshingly admits he would love to play Shane Lowry in Sunday's Volvo World Match Play final.

The pair were kept apart in Tuesday's draw at Thracian Cliffs in Bulgaria and cannot meet until the final, with Lowry no doubt aiming to gain revenge following his defeat to McDowell in the third round of the Accenture Match Play in Arizona in February.

"All four Irishmen were in the same bracket in Tucson which was a little disappointing because you know you're going to have to play one of your friends eventually if you want to go all the way," said McDowell, who beat Padraig Harrington in the first round while Lowry was defeating then world number one Rory McIlroy.

"It's pleasing here to be able to look at the draw and say 'Hopefully see you Sunday afternoon'. That would obviously be very special. I played 18 holes with him yesterday, he's a great player and proved how good of a match player he is earlier in the year.

"It would be sweet (to meet in the final), but there's a lot of guys that are going to be expecting to be there Sunday afternoon as well."

The 24-man field is split into eight groups of three with the two seeded players in each group facing each other today, while the unseeded eight who completed the groups at Tuesday's draw have to play both their group games on Friday.

That meant McDowell, who lost in the final to Nicolas Colsaerts at Finca Cortesin in Spain last year, taking on England's Chris Wood, while Colsaerts began the defence of his title against Branden Grace.

Ian Poulter, the winner in 2011, was up against Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee, with Poulter's Ryder Cup team-mates Peter Hanson and Francesco Molinari facing George Coetzee and Henrik Stenson respectively.

The other matches see Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano facing Jamie Donaldson, Bo van Pelt taking on Richard Sterne and Thorbjorn Olesen up against Carl Pettersson.

"It would be a tough stroke-play course, there's no doubt about it," McDowell said of the 7,291-yard layout on the edge of the Black Sea. "There would be golf balls flying everywhere, literally. It's going to be a good match-play course. There's going to be concessions in the middle of the fairway here, there and everywhere. It's going to be fun and it's going to look great on TV."

PA Media

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