Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell defeated Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand by 2&1 to win the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort in Bulgaria.

McDowell, who had come through against South Africa’s Branden Grace in the semi-final, was two-down after four holes of the final against Jaidee. But the Northern Irishman had reduced the deficit to one by the turn, then levelled the contest with a birdie on the 12th.

A par was good enough for the 2010 US Open champion to take the lead on the 14th, after Jaidee had driven into a bush. The advantage was doubled when McDowell played a superb approach to the 15th. Two pars from there were enough to secure the title for McDowell.

“Obviously a nice day and a great trophy,” said McDowell. “I talked about it all week about the prestige of this event and how many great champions, and nice to add my name to that list of legends. Els, Montgomerie, Westwood, Ballesteros, Norman, Lyle, Faldo, Player, Palmer, it’s just crazy stuff really. To thrust yourself into that – to have your name on a trophy this cool is pretty special.”

It was McDowell’s eighth European Tour victory and he moves to the top of the Race to Dubai standings. He was the top seed in the event and the win has pushed him up one spot to seventh on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Jaidee wasn’t disappointed with his second place finish.

“It’s been a very good week,” said Jaidee. “I only made one mistake all day, on 14, the one bogey we had. But I think it’s still been a solid week for me, and congratulations to McDowell, it was very good play. For me, it’s not losing to come second, that’s a good finish for me. That’s big enough for me this week. I don’t mind about not winning, to come to second in such a big tournament is very good.”

Volvo World Match Play Championship
Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort, Kavarna, Bulgaria
May 16-19, purse €3,000,000 par 72

1   Graeme McDowell (NIR)   €499,999
2   Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)      €333,333
T3   Thomas Aiken (RSA)      €168,900
T3   Branden Grace (RSA)      €168,900
T5   Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel)      €99,300
T5   Scott Jamieson (Sco)      €99,300
T5   Francesco Molinari (Ita)      €99,300
T5   Chris Wood (Eng)         €99,300

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Where next?
PGA Tour –
Sang-Moon Bae wins Byron Nelson Championship