Grace a Day 1 World Match Play winner

Updated: May 16, 2013

World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship - Preview Day 3

Branden Grace opened the World Match Play
Championship with a 4 & 3 victory over defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts on

Grace, a four-time titlist on the European Tour in 2012, was ahead by five at
the turn before Colsaerts rallied with birdies on Nos. 10 and 12. The reigning
champ’s run ended shortly thereafter when he bogeyed the 14th, which allowed
Grace to seal the result with a par on the next.

“I made a good birdie on the second hole, which was key to get off to a fast
start, and then I think it was a 45-footer on the third hole which just kept
the momentum going,” said Grace. “It seemed I hit a good shot every time
Nicolas hit a bad shot, which kind of opened the door for myself the first

Colsaerts will now have to follow a familiar path, as last year the Belgian
failed to win either of his first two matches before making it through to the
weekend courtesy of a playoff decision over Charl Schwartzel.

World No. 8 Graeme McDowell was a 5 & 3 winner over Chris Wood, while 2011
champion Ian Poulter fell to Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, 3 & 2, at Thracian
Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort.

“To get the win under the belt today is very important to take the pressure
off somewhat going into tomorrow, but you certainly can’t take it lightly. If
the game goes the other way in the morning, I still have a job to do tomorrow
afternoon,” said McDowell, who is playing his first European Tour event of the
year after posting four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour, including a victory
at the RBC Heritage.

Carl Pettersson, who has rejoined the circuit in an attempt to qualify for the
Ryder Cup, posted a 4 & 3 victory over Thorbjorn Olesen, while world No. 23
Peter Hanson and Francesco Molinari both posted a 2 & 1 victory — over George
Coetzee and Henrik Stenson, respectively.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano held off a hard-charging Jamie Donaldson to post a
narrow 1-up win. The former held a 4-stroke lead with seven holes to play
before the latter birdied the 12th and 14. Another birdie on the 16th reduced
Donaldson’s deficit to one, but the pair matched gains on the last, allowing
Fernandez-Castano to hold on for the victory.

Bo Van Pelt, the only American in the field, and Richard Sterne managed the
only halve of the opening day.

The remaining 16 group matches will take place Friday.

NOTES: The 24-man field is divided into eight groups of three players, with
everyone playing two matches and the top two players from each group advancing
to the single elimination matches on Saturday and Sunday … Last year,
Colsaerts defeated McDowell, 1-up, in the final.