Beaten Poulter still in the hunt

5/17/2013 8:13:00 AM
Ian Poulter  (Getty Images)
Ian Poulter (Getty Images)

Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter is on Friday hoping to make the most of a rare second chance in the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria.

Poulter, who won four points out of four in Europe's epic victory at Medinah last year, lost 3&2 to Thongchai Jaidee at Thracian Cliffs on Thursday.

Normally that would mean an early exit and weekend off, but the round-robin format means the Englishman is still in the hunt for the €800,000 first prize if he can find victory against Thomas Aiken at 1340 local time on Friday afternoon.

Poulter can take solace from the plight of defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts, who did not win any of his group games last year, halving with Charl Schwartzel and losing to Retief Goosen, but went through to the last 16 thanks to a play-off win over Schwartzel after the former Masters champion also lost to Goosen.

"It's not often you lose in match play and everything is fine," said Poulter, who refused to blame struggling with stomach cramps for his defeat.

"I got off to a great start with three straight birdies but made a few mistakes and gave Thongchai holes, which you don't do in match play. If you hit a couple of errant shots on this course you're going to struggle to get back."

And Poulter stressed the need to avoid silly mistakes on the dramatic, coastal Gary Player signature course, something he will attempt to do against the man who won in India at the Avantha Masters earlier this year.

“I started well [yesterday] but this is the type of course that if you miss a couple of shots it can be very penal. 

“It's hard sometimes to make par when you're back under pressure and you can be dropping it from all sorts of places.”

Poulter later tweeted: "Oh well, It's probably the only tournament you can lose your first match and still be ok. Tomorrow is another day. Good job really!"

Also looking to bounce back from first-day defeat on Friday afternoon is Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, who succumbed to a narrow 2&1 loss at the hands of Italian Francesco Molinari in the opening tie of the Greg Norman group on Thursday.

Stenson came up against an in-form Molinari, who found seven birdies in his opening round in Kavarna, and will take on Chilean Felipe Aguilar at 1300 looking to at least claim a play-off and a chance to advance to the last 16 in what is the 48th edition of the World Match Play Championship.