Ian Poulter suffers defeat in opening World Match Play match

Ian Poulter

England's Ian Poulter and defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts lost their opening group games at the World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria.

Thai Thongchai Jaidee beat Poulter 3&2, while Belgian Colsaerts lost 4&3 to South Africa's Branden Grace.

However, both will still have a chance to reach the last 16 if they win their second match on Friday.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, Italy's Francesco Molinari and Sweden's Peter Hanson won their first games.

Poulter opened with three straight birdies before four bogeys and a double bogey contributed to his defeat in the three-man group format.

"It's not often you lose in match play and everything is fine," said Poulter, who has been struggling with stomach cramps.

"I got off to a great start but made a few mistakes and gave him holes, which you don't do in match play.

"If you hit a couple of errant shots on this course you're going to struggle to get back."

McDowell had the biggest win of the day, beating England's Chris Wood 5&3 and will progress to the last 16 before his second match on Friday if Wood loses to Scot Stephen Gallacher in the morning.

"It was important to get off to a good start," McDowell said. "For the guys that lost it's not the end of the world, but to get the win under the belt takes the pressure off somewhat."

Belgian Colsaerts will still have hopes of defending his title having progressed at the same stage last year via a play-off after drawing one game and losing the other.

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