Brett Rumford (Getty Images)
Australian Brett Rumford and Swede Henrik Stenson completed the line-up for next week’s Volvo World Match Play Championship at Thracian Cliffs Golf and Beach Resort.
Rumford qualified by claiming the Volvo China Open last week, seven days after winning the Ballantine’s Championship, and Stenson received the sole invitation on offer, completing the elite 24-man field which includes 14 of the world’s top 50 players.
Rumford said: "I feel very honoured to have won this event (the Volvo China Open), and one of the great things about it is that it gets me into a fantastic event like the Volvo World Match Play Championship. It’s another stepping stone in my career, and I’m really looking forward to teeing it up against so many great players."
Stenson, who won the 2009 Accenture Match Play Championship, said: “I am delighted to receive this invite from Volvo. I know a lot of players were in the mix so I was thrilled to hear that I had been the lucky one as I love the cut and thrust of match play and can’t wait to get to Bulgaria.
“We don’t often go to a completely new venue and country, so I am really looking forward to having a look around and to playing at Thracian Cliffs for the first time. It looks really beautiful.”
Also in the line-up are match play specialist Ian Poulter, who won the 2011 edition of the Volvo World Match Play Championship, Graeme McDowell, the 2010 US Open champion, six-time European Tour winner Peter Hanson, Ryder Cup player Francesco Molinari and defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts.
American Bo Van Pelt and US-based Swede Carl Pettersson are making their first appearance in the Volvo World Match Play Championship while Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy is returning for the first time since 2005. Other notable debutants include World Number 33 Thorbjørn Olesen and World Number 31 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.
The prize fund has increased by €250,000 to €3,000,000, with the winner taking home €800,000.
The 2013 Championship marks 50 years since the inaugural World Match Play Championship and is also Volvo’s 130th title sponsorship in men’s professional golf, as well as their 80th tournament on the European Tour.
The players are divided into eight groups of three to be played out on Thursday and Friday, with 16 players progressing to Saturday’s knock-out stage before the semi-finals and final on Sunday. The draw will be made at an official press conference at Thracian Cliffs at 1.30pm on Tuesday May 14.
This is the first full European Tour event to be played in Bulgaria as the Championship moves to the much-lauded Gary Player-designed signature course. Framed by rugged coastal cliffs and the vast blue of the Black Sea, which can be viewed from every hole, Thracian Cliffs is arguably one of the most dramatic golf courses on earth.