Quiros beats Hiratsuka to keep chances alive

5/18/2012 11:12:16 AM
Alvaro Quiros  (Getty Images)
Alvaro Quiros (Getty Images)
Alvaro Quiros kept his Volvo World Match Play Championship hopes alive with victory over Tetsuji Hiratsuka on day two at Finca Cortesin.

Having lost to compatriot Sergio Garcia in his opening group game, Quiros ran out a comfortable 5 and 4 winner over his Japanese opponent.

As a result Hiratsuka needed a win over Garcia in the afternoon to prevent wither The Ryder Cup star or his compatriot progressing.

“It's a win, obviously it's a completely different story to yesterday and my putting was way, way better,” said Quiros. “Playing this way, I felt a little bit more confident. 

“It's not difficult to believe it but I've been struggling with the putting for five or six months, even in the victory in Dubai, I was shaking, but my long game was that good that I was able to win. 

“If I hole two or three good putts, I will probably get a victory.” 

Scotland's Paul Lawrie, playing his 500th European Tour event, needed only a half against Camilo Villegas to go through - and that is what he had to settle for.

The former Open Champion, who opened with a fine victory over the higher-seeded Peter Hanson, was two down with seven holes remaining and then almost aced the 224 yard 12th.

It appeared a huge error when he drove into a hazard down the 13th, but the Colombian followed him and three-putted for a double-bogey six.

Villegas took three more putts at the next to fall behind for the first time, levelled with a ten foot birdie on the 17th and had a 14 foot chance to snatch victory on the last after Lawrie had lipped out, but missed.

England's Robert Rock was giving a much better account of himself than he had on the opening day, leading Open Champion Darren Clarke by one with five to play.

Rock, conqueror of Tiger Woods and world top three Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood in Abu Dhabi in January, had been beaten 7 and 6 by Justin Rose and could not afford to lose again.

In the other three morning matches South Africans Retief Goosen and Jbe Kruger were two up and one up respectively on Nicolas Colsaerts and Robert Karlsson, while Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello, having got the better of top seed Martin Kaymer, was two up after 13 on Richard Finch.

Karlsson birdied the last to grab a half with Kruger - and that made Graeme McDowell certain of going through because he had started his campaign with a win over the Swede, a late replacement for the injured Paul Casey.

Cabrera-Bello was sure to top his group when he beat Finch 4 and 2, leaving Finch and Kaymer - separated by 209 places on the Official World Golf Ranking - to fight it out for the runners-up spot.

Rock was two up with two to play, but Clarke birdied the 17th from five feet to stay alive in the game.

Clarke failed to get up and down from sand on the last and lost by two holes to Rock.

It left the Northern Irishman needing to beat Rose just to get into a play-off between the three of them to decide which two carried on in the event.

Goosen, meanwhile, beat Colsaerts on the 18th to make sure of his place in the last 16, the Belgian having only halved with Charl Schwartzel yesterday.

Poulter wasted no time in gaining control of his match with Hertfordshire colleague Lewis, winning the first with par and long third with a birdie.

There was also a fine start by Villegas. He took three of the first four holes against Hanson, who had to win.

If Villegas won, he and Lawrie were both through and would have a sudden death play-off to determine who topped the group.

Rose birdied the first to lead against Clarke, another in need of victory to force, in his case, a three-way play-off.

Lewis was back to all square by the eighth and escaped with a half on the next when he holed his par attempt from 15 feet and Poulter missed his birdie chance from 12.

But the defending champion then made a similar length putt to regain the lead at the short tenth.

Clarke was in big trouble at three down after four and so was Hanson at four down after five, although he took the next two holes off Villegas.

McDowell was three up after five on Kruger and Finch all square with Kaymer after four.