In what is arguably the most mouth-watering tie of the opening day’s play, defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts takes on fellow double-Volvo champion Branden Grace as the 2013 Volvo World Match Play Championship begins in Bulgaria.
With four Volvo titles between them over the last three seasons, Colsaerts and 2012 sensation Grace could well be feeling in confident mood as they take to the stunning Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort at 1250 local time on Thursday, as the 80th tournament to be staged between Volvo and The European Tour kicks off in Kavarna.
Ahead of the opening matches, europeantour.com recaps the quadruple Volvo success of the Belgian and the prodigious young South African…
2011 Volvo China Open
Coasted to his first European Tour victory as he ran out a four shot winner at Luxehills International Country Club in Chengdu. More than ten years after turning professional on his 18th birthday, having become the second youngest European Tour Qualifying School graduate, the big-hitting Belgian finally realised his potential with a closing six under par round of 66. That left him 24 under par for the week, four clear of Spain’s Pablo Martin, New Zealander Danny Lee, Ireland’s Peter Lawrie and Dane Søren Kjeldsen.
2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship
Beat Graeme McDowell on the final green after being pushed all the way by the Northern Irishman, who levelled the contest three times on the front nine and twice halved a two-hole deficit after the turn. In blustery conditions at Finca Cortesin in Spain, the Belgian bomber continued his remarkable record in Volvo-sponsored events, after winning his maiden European Tour title at the Volvo China Open in 2011 finishing third at the 2011 Volvo World Match Play, fourth at the 2011 Volvo Golf Champions and second at the 2012 Volvo China Open.
2012 Volvo Golf Champions
Became the first player since Fred Couples in 1995 to follow his first European Tour win with another with victory at the Volvo Golf Champions. A week after capturing his first European Tour title to make it into the elite field, the George man beat two of his boyhood heroes in Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a play-off. This after coming through The European Tour Qualifying School just a month previously.
2012 Volvo China Open
Continued to rewrite the history books just a couple of months later in becoming only the second player in European Tour history to win three times in the season after graduating through Qualifying School as he cantered to victory in Tianjin. Three clear of 2011 winner – and rival during Thursday’s opening matches in Bulgaria – Colsaerts overnight, his lead on the final day was never fewer than two shots and a closing 69 saw him finish 21 under at Binhai Lake.