Wednesday, 18 May 2011
 Lee Westwood   (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood has made it clear complacency will not be an issue as he looks to make it three wins in a row with victory at the Volvo World Match Play Championships at Finca Cortesin.

Westwood has triumphed on his last two starts - at the Indonesian Masters and Ballantine’s Championship - to ensure he remains at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings.

However, the quality of the 24-man field for this week’s event ensures the 38 year old will not be resting on his laurels as he seeks to pull further clear of fellow Englishman Luke Donald, his nearest rival for the World Number One slot.

Matches in the tournament have previously been played over 36 holes, but the players will do battle over 18 on this occasion and Westwood feels that only increases the potential for shock results.

“I’ve played well (in this tournament before), especially when it was at Wentworth. Obviously it was over 36 holes then, so it was a little bit more predictable,” he said.

“This week we’re 18 holes and you have to come out of the blocks fast and you can't afford to make too many mistakes.

“There will be no easy matches out there. Everybody is quite capable of beating everybody else over 18 holes.”

Westwood, who faces Anders Hansen and Aaron Baddeley in Group A, is understandably satisfied with his form in recent weeks and puts his success down to improved performances on the greens.

“I’ve obviously played well the last couple of weeks,” he added. “I’ve been playing all right all year, but the last two tournaments I’ve played in I started to make a few putts, which obviously makes a bit of a difference.”

World Number Six Rory McIlroy has been working hard at his game since missing the cut at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow a fortnight ago.

“It's a busy time of the year for us. I think I'm playing four out of the next five weeks, leading up to the US Open Championship. So it’s time to sort of put the head down and try and get ready for that,” said the Ulsterman.

“I did a lot of good work with Michael Bannon last week back home. We saw just a little thing in my swing that we sort of worked on. I was dropping the club a tiny fraction behind me on the way down on the downswing. I was starting the ball a little right of my target and just putting a little too much draw spin on it.

“So (we were) just working on getting the club back down on the right plane on the way down and worked pretty hard at that.  It was so windy back home, as well.  It was hard to practise that much, but I just tried to do as much as I could and try and make the ball flight as neutral as possible.”

McIlroy has been drawn against Volvo China Open winner Nicolas Colsaerts and Retief Goosen this week and added: “I'm going to need some of my best golf to beat those guys.”

Reigning champion Ross Fisher, meanwhile, is hoping to regain his best form following a somewhat disappointing season to date.

The four-time European Tour winner has managed just one top ten finish in 2011 so far, at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February, but is determined to mount a solid defence of his crown this week as the tournament returns to the schedule following a one-year break.

“It’s nice to be back on turf that I feel very comfortable on,” said Fisher. “To be the World Match Play Champion for almost two years has quite a nice ring to it so I’m really excited to be back here and can’t wait to get going.

“I’ve got good memories of this place, so hopefully they will come flooding back and I’ll get off to a good start.”

Fisher has been drawn alongside World Number Two Donald and American Ryan Moore in Group B but is confident he can progress to the knockout stages.

“I suppose in match play you kind of think, ‘who would I like to get?’ but looking at the calibre of players here this week there’s not really an easy way through to the quarter-finals,” he explained.

“Obviously myself being with Luke and Ryan, you know they are going to be two very tough games, but I like my chances.”

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