World Match Play: Graeme McDowell pipped by Colsaerts

Graeme McDowell sets his sights on victory at the Match Play final
Graeme McDowell in the Match Play final

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell was narrowly beaten by Nicolas Colsaerts in the final of the World Match Play.

The Belgian survived missing a short putt at the 17th to halve the final hole and win 1up at the Finca Cortesin resort in Spain's Andalucia region.

McDowell struggled with the wind, carding six bogies, but kept battling back to give himself hope.

Earlier, Colsaerts had beaten Scotland's Paul Lawrie at the second extra hole in their semi-final.

Colsaerts took the lead in the final three times during the opening nine, at the third, sixth and eighth, but three times McDowell responded immediately to bring the match all-square.

Bogeys at 11 and 13 cost the 32-year-old dearly, though, before a fine birdie at 14 halved his two-hole deficit.

But another bogey at the 16th meant McDowell was two down with two to play.

The 29-year-old Belgian displayed a few nerves when three-putting the 17th, but comfortably held off the 2010 US Open champion at the last to win the 700,000 euros ($900,000 / £565,000) event.

The win raises the big-hitting Colsaerts into the world's top 50 players, and boosts his chances of making Europe's Ryder Cup team this autumn.

After securing the biggest pay-day of his career, he said: "I had to dig deep all day, the conditions this afternoon were brutal and we had to fight and grind all the way.

"I can't feel anything right now, to have my name on this trophy - it's a dream come true.

"When you play Graeme in these conditions you know it's going to be tough because he's (Northern) Irish and plays lots of links golf. But I've been playing well for a while now."

McDowell, without a victory since he beat Tiger Woods in California 17 months ago, had hoped to become the first Northern Irishman to win the championship since 1964.

But ultimately he fell just short and it was Colsaerts who joined seven-time winner Ernie Els on the trophy.

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