MATCH PLAY SPECIALIST Ian Poulter is aiming for back-to-back Volvo World Match Play Championship this week in Spain.
The 36-year-old Englishman defeated Luke Donald (2 and 1) in the final of last year’s tournament at the Finca Cortesin Golf Club on the southern coast of Spain.
Poulter has also won the 2010 WGC Match Play Championship and is a two-time Ryder Cup champion. The outspoken Englishman loves the one-on-one nature of match play and hopes to use this week’s tournament as a springboard for selection in Jose Maria Olazabal’s European Ryder Cup team.
“I love the cut and thrust of match play and find it a refreshing change from the usual stroke play format we play week in week out on the tours,” Poulter said yesterday.
“The fact it is Ryder Cup year, and I think, it will make it (the Volvo Match Play) even more exciting with every match from the group stages to the final giving a chance to all aspiring team members to impress Captain Olazabal before Medinah.”
Poulter starts tomorrow, grouped with Australia’s John Senden and unseeded 21-year-old Tom Lewis. The local supporters at Finca Cortesin have three Spaniards to cheer on with Sergio Garcia, Alvaro Quiros and Rafael Cabrera Bello all set to play this week.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer is the top-seed of this year’s Volvo World Match Play Championship and comes into this week’s tournament on the back of a decent enough performance at the Players Championship in Florida. The 27-year-old recovered from an opening round of one over to end last week’s tournament on five under and tied for 15th.
Kaymer is the only world top 10 golfer to play at Finca Cortesin this week. Sweden’s Peter Hanson will also fancy his chances in Andalusia. Hanson finished made it to the quarter-finals of the WGC Match Play Championship in February with wins over Luke Donald, Ernie Els and Brandt Snedeker.
The 34-year-old Swede also finished tied for third at the Masters last month.