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Tuesday, 14 May 2013
José Maria Zamora ( ET Tournament Director, VWMPC) and Per Ericsson (President, Volvo Event Management) address the media during the draw announcement at the Volvo World Match Play Championship  (Getty Images)
José Maria Zamora ( ET Tournament Director, VWMPC) and Per Ericsson (President, Volvo Event Management) address the media during the draw announcement at the Volvo World Match Play Championship (Getty Images)

Defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts will face fellow Volvo champion Branden Grace and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat during the round-robin group stages of the Volvo World Match Play Championship, after the draw was revealed on Tuesday.

And the big-hitting Belgian will hope to make life easier on himself than he did 12 months ago in Bulgaria this week.

Colsaerts did not win any of his two group games at Finca Cortesin in 2012 and only progressed to the last 16 after a play-off with former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.

He improved as the week went on, but still needed 20 holes to beat Paul Lawrie in the semi-finals before edging past Graeme McDowell on the 18th in the final.

The 24-man field at the spectacular Thracian Cliffs in Kavarna have again been split into eight groups of three, with the top 16 players in the world rankings placed into groups and the remaining eight drawn at random on Tuesday.

Malaysian Open winner Aphibarnrat was drawn to face Colsaerts and Grace, who won both the Volvo Golf Champions and the Volvo China Open in 2012, in the Ian Woosnam Group, while 2011 winner Ian Poulter was drawn alongside Thomas Aiken and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee in the Assar Gabrielsson group.

The Seve Ballesteros group features McDowell, up against Chris Wood and Stephen Gallacher, while Sweden's Henrik Stenson - the only player to receive an invite rather than qualify - faces Francesco Molinari and Felipe Aguilar in the Greg Norman group.

Brett Rumford, bidding to become only the third man in European Tour history to win three events in succession after Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros, will go head to head with Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Welshman Jamie Donaldson in the Gary Player group.

The group games will be played on Thursday and Friday with the top two in each group advancing to the last 16. Those ties will be played on Saturday morning with the quarter-finals to follow and the semi-finals and final on Sunday.

Draw in full:

Seve Ballesteros Group - Graeme McDowell, Chris Wood, Stephen Gallacher

Assar Gabrielsson Group - Ian Poulter, Thongchai Jaidee, Thomas Aiken

Arnold Palmer Group - Peter Hanson, George Coetzee, Shane Lowry

Gustaf Larson Group - Bo Van Pelt, Richard Sterne, Geoff Ogilvy

Ian Woosnam Group - Branden Grace, Nicolas Colsaerts, Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Greg Norman Group - Henrik Stenson, Francesco Molinari, Felipe Aguilar

Mark McCormack Group - Thorbjorn Olesen, Carl Pettersson, Scott Jamieson

Gary Player Group - Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Jamie Donaldson, Brett Rumford

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