CASARES, Spain (AFP) –
Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell defeated Spanish star Sergio Garcia in a thrilling extra-hole duel to reach the Volvo World Match Play Championship semi-finals on Saturday.
World number 20 McDowell, who had knocked out England’s Richard Finch in the morning’s last 16, was forced into a 19th hole decider after missing a straightforward five-foot putt on the 18th.
Garcia wasted his reprieve, however, when he pushed his putt four feet past the hole after the Northern Irishman had held his from five feet.
“It wasn’t exactly El Clasico and I feel like I dodged a bullet there,” said 2010 US Open champion McDowell.
“I kind of resigned myself to the fact that I was going home, but sometimes you have to win ugly and sometimes to win you need what just happened to me. I count myself lucky.”
Garcia shrugged off the defeat, admitting he had been happy to make the last eight after seeing off England’s Tom Lewis 4 and 3 in the last 16.
“Making it to the quarter finals having played so badly means it was a good tournament. I had no good quality shots,” he said.
McDowell will face Rafael Cabrera-Bello, the last remaining Spaniard, in Sunday’s semi-finals.
Cabrera-Bello came from behind to beat compatriot Alvaro Quiros 3 and 1.
The Dubai Desert Classic winner was three down after seven, but won six holes out of eight on the back nine for a memorable victory.
“I got to play with a friend in Alvaro. I’m very happy for me but I feel sorry for him, and he’s such a good guy,” said the 27-year-old, who beat Robert Karlsson in the morning.
Sunday’s other semi-final sees 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie, playing in his 500th European Tour event, facing Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium.
Lawrie, currently fifth in the Ryder Cup points table, defeated Thomas Bjorn 5 and 4 in the last 16 before seeing off South Africa’s Retief Goosen 6 and 5.
Colsaerts defeated Brandt Snedeker of the United States 4 and 3 in his quarter-final.