Top-seeded Kaymer ousted at Volvo World Match Play Championship

Martin Kaymer at the Volvo World Match Play Championship
Getty Images
Martin Kaymer, who won the 2010 PGA Championship, joins Darren Clarke and Charl Schwartzel as major winners who failed to make the weekend at the Volvo World Match Play Championship.
By news services

Series: European Tour

Published: Friday, May 18, 2012 | 2:30 p.m.

CASARES, Spain -- Top-seeded Martin Kaymer was eliminated from the Volvo World Match Play Championship by the lowest-ranked player in the field on Friday, losing by 1 hole to Richard Finch.

The No. 9-ranked German needed to make a 3-foot putt to halve the match and force a playoff against the No. 218-ranked Finch, but it horseshoed out.

Kaymer, who won the 2010 PGA Championship, started the year at No. 4 but hasn't won an event this year. He joins Darren Clarke and Charl Schwartzel as major winners who failed to make the weekend.

In this unique event, the 24-player field is divided into eight groups of three. Each man plays matches against the other two men in his group on Thursday and Friday, and the two players in each group scoring the most points advance to the weekend. These 16 survivors of the "group stage" square off in traditional match-play knockout rounds, with the rounds of 16 and 8 being played on Saturday, and the semifinals and final being played on Sunday.

Defending champion Ian Poulter looked strong after overwhelming Tom Lewis 4 and 3 and extending his unbeaten match-play record on European soil to 14 contests.

Finch made par on the par-5 last and Kaymer should have matched it, but turned away in disbelief after his effort wrapped around the edge of the cup.

Finch's reward is a match against McDowell, who beat Jbe Kruger 4 and 3 and is attempting to recreate his match-play heroics from the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, where he holed the winning putt.

''It was a bit of a dead rubber -- the real fun starts tomorrow against Richard,'' McDowell said.

American Brandt Snedeker was reunited with his own clubs Friday for his head-to-head with Branden Grace. He won his first match on Thursday with borrowed clubs, a putter from the pro shop and a player's backup driver after his clubs were lost because of an emergency landing Monday during his flight to Spain after a passenger had a heart attack.

It didn't help Snedeker, who lost 4 and 3, but he emerged from a three-way playoff with Grace and Thomas Bjorn to set up a last-16 match with Camilo Villegas.

Bjorn beat Grace on the next playoff hole and will take on Paul Lawrie next.

Justin Rose piled on the agony for Darren Clarke with a 6&4 drubbing Friday afternoon. The reigning British Open champion had also lost to Robert Rock earlier in the day -- that at least went to the final green -- and so made yet another early exit from a tournament.

The 43-year-old Clarke has yet to survive a halfway cut this season and has still to record his first top-10 finish since his memorable triumph at Sandwich last summer.

Rose, in contrast, has not gone beyond the 14th hole in either of his matches -- he crushed Rock 7&6 -- and afterward expressed empathy for Clarke's plight. Rose, after all, endured 21 successive missed cuts in the year that followed his fourth-place finish as a 17-year-old amateur in the 1998 British Open.

"We've all been through ebbs and flows," said Rose, whose next opponent Nicolas Colsaerts won a playoff against last year's Masters champion Charl Schwartzel to reach the last 16. "He was in great spirits considering and very complimentary to me. He's got it in perspective I guess -- it's tough, but it's not like he's checked out. He still wants to be a great player.

"He obviously alluded to the fact that nothing has gone terribly right (on the course) since winning the Open, but the only thing to hopefully draw on is his family life (Clarke married again last month) and he's really enjoying being back in Northern Ireland," he explained. "You can see it still hurts, but he's a good enough player that hopefully it will turn round."

Rose went 4 up on the 574-yard eighth even though he hit only one shot there. Clarke pulled his drive into bushes, the ball was never found and he decided not to return to the tee.

Defending champion Ian Poulter, Rose's great friend and Ryder Cup partner in 2008, is still going strong and they could meet in Sunday's final.

After Australian John Senden lost to both Poulter and 21-year-old Tom Lewis, the only thing at stake when the two Englishmen -- both Hertfordshire players -- clashed was who topped the group. Both were already through.

Poulter won it 4&3 to set up a meeting with big-hitting Alvaro Quiros, while Lewis, who won the Portugal Masters last October in only his third start as a professional, is also up against Spanish opposition in Sergio Garcia.

"I don't think either of us were 100 percent switched on -- I guess it was hard to get that adrenaline rush you normally get in match play," said Poulter, who beat Luke Donald in last year's final.

Biggest shock of the day came right at the end when Finch, 218th in the world, knocked out Kaymer. There was no reprieve for Kaymer because he had also lost to Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

Finch, whose third-place finish in last month's Volvo China Open qualified him for the 24-man field because top two Branden Grace and Colsaerts already had places, next plays Graeme McDowell.

Northern Ireland's 2010 U.S. Open champion made it two wins out of two, following his last-green success over Robert Karlsson with a 4&3 victory over South African Jbe Kruger.

Karlsson, who stepped in on Sunday for the injured Paul Casey, is still alive after beating Kruger in a playoff. He will meet Cabrera-Bello.

Paul Lawrie, in his 500th European Tour event, won his group, but only in a playoff with Colombian Camilo Villegas after they halved.

Thomas Bjorn is next for Lawrie. Bjorn was involved in a three-way shootout with Snedeker and Grace.

The other match is between Rock and the other group winner Retief Goosen, who has already beaten Colsaerts and Schwartzel.

Saturday's Round of 16:
Sergio Garcia vs. Tom Lewis
Graeme McDowell vs. Richard Finch
Paul Lawrie vs. Thomas Bjorn
Retief Goosen vs. Robert Rock
Brandt Snedeker vs. Camilo Villegas
Justin Rose vs. Nicolas Colsaerts
Ian Poulter vs. Alvaro Quiros
Rafael Cabrera-Bello vs. Robert Karlsson

Friday morning results:
Tom Lewis def. John Senden, 1 hole
Thomas Bjorn def. Branden Grace, 2&1
Paul Lawrie vs. Camilo Villegas, halved
Alvaro Quiros def. Tetsuji Hiratsuka, 5&4
Robert Karlsson vs. Jbe Kruger, halved
Retief Goosen def. Nicolas Colsaerts, 1 hole
Robert Rock def. Darren Clarke, 2 holes
Rafael Cabrera-Bello def. Richard Finch, 4&2   

Friday afternoon results:
Ian Poulter def. Tom Lewis, 4&3
Branden Grace def. Brandt Snedeker, 4&3
Camilo Villegas def. Peter Hanson, 6&4
Sergio Garcia def. Tetsuji Hiratsuka, 4&2
Graeme McDowell def. Jbe Kruger, 4&3
Retief Goosen def. Charl Schwartzel, 4&3
Justin Rose def. Darren Clarke, 6&4
Richard Finch def. Martin Kaymer, 1 hole