Graeme McDowell and South African Branden Grace set up a mouth-watering showdown in today’s semi-finals of the World Match Play Championship at Thracian Cliffs in Bulgaria.
The challenge of Scotland’s Scott Jamieson ended at the quarter-final stage when he went down 4 & 3 to Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, 43, who had knocked out Ryder Cup team mates Ian Poulter and Peter Hanson earlier in the competition.
World No.8 McDowell, the highest-ranked player in the field, avenged his defeat in last year’s final by easing past holder Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium 2 & 1.
Colsaerts was already trailing when his drive at the tenth finished in a public toilet. After taking a penalty drop he spared his own blushes by pitching the ball on to the green and holing out from 15 feet for a par four.
Colsaerts could be heard laughing as he pleaded with the referee not to make him drop the ball inside the toilet on live television, but had to drop it twice as it rolled nearer the hole the first time.
“I was laughing because I was going to look like a clown,” Colsaerts said. “I’m going to make A Question of Sport and I’m sure it’s going to make the news, some Belgian dude dropping the ball in a toilet.”
McDowell said of his Ryder Cup team mate: “I was looking like going four up on the tenth and Nicolas literally made par from the toilet.”
Earlier in the day, he had put out American Bo Van Pelt by one hole.
Grace, who won four times on the European Tour last season, also scored a 2 & 1 win over Briton Chris Wood.
Earlier, Grace defeated Brett Rumford 4 & 3 to end the Australian’s dream of becoming the third man in tour history – and first since 1986 – to win three events back-to-back.
This morning’s other semi-final will be between Jaidee and South African Thomas Aiken, who followed his quarter-final win over Ireland’s Shane Lowry at the 19th hole by putting out Italian Francesco Molinari 3 & 2.
Jaidee said: “I’ve been playing very well all week. I’m very confident with this format.”