Volvo World Match Play Championship: Ian Poulter loses in group stage
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 18/05/13 12:30pm
Thomas Aiken beats Ian Poulter on the last hole
Ian Poulter, Europe's Ryder Cup hero and one of the best match play golfers around, bowed out of the Volvo World Match Play in Bulgaria after a final group match defeat by Thomas Aiken.
With both players previously beaten by Thongchai Jaidee, it was a straight shoot-out between Poulter and Aiken for the second place in the knockout stages, but it was Aiken who triumphed on the final hole to take up his place in the last 16 against Shane Lowry.
G Fdez-Castano bt B Rumford 3&2
S Jamieson bt T Olesen 5&3
F Aguilar bt H Stenson 3&1
B Grace A/S K Aphibarnrat
B Van Pelt A/S G Ogilvy
S Lowry bt P Hanson 5&4
T Aiken bt I Poulter 1Hole
G McDowell bt S Gallacher 4&2
Poulter, who won four points out of four in the Ryder Cup at Medinah, hooked his drive off the 18th tee onto the next fairway, and was left with a ten-foot putt for par which he missed to hand Aiken the win.
"There is no excuse for that display of golf over the last two days," said a furious Poulter. "It's disgusting, disgraceful and there's no explanation. I should have been able to finish the match off.
"My concentration was simply not there and therefore you make mental errors when you have not used your brain. It's completely unacceptable."
Asked where he went to next, Poulter added: "The tallest tree with the shortest rope. I am p***** off. I will stay p***** off for a couple of hours and then get to England and win at Wentworth."
In-form Swede Henrik Stenson was also another big-name casualty in the group stages at the spectacular Thracian Cliffs course in Bulgaria, as he lost his decider against Chilean Felipe Aguilar.
Last 16 Draw
B Grace v B Rumford
R Sterne v C Wood
F Molinari v C Pettersson
S Lowry v T Aiken
S Jamieson v F Aguilar
T Jaidee v P Hanson
G Fdez-Castano v N Colsaerts
G McDowell v B van Pelt
After both men had been beaten by Francesco Molinari, the lowest-ranked player in the field won the last four holes of his match with Stenson to progress through to the next round against the odds.
"Starting the day, I knew this was the match I needed to win because no matter what happened with Francesco, I needed to win this match," said Aguilar, who now plays Scott Jamieson. "Maybe I wasn't the favourite even to pass the top eight, the top 16s, but actually I like to be the underdog."
Defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts did not need a play-off in the end to make the knock-outs as Branden Grace finished all square with Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat to put the South African through top of the group.
Graeme McDowell looked impressive again as he beat Stephen Gallacher 4&2 to go through as group winner, while Scott Jamieson beat Thorbjorn Olesen to win his second match of the day to make it through.
Bo van Pelt put Geoff Ogilvy by finishing all square with the Australian, while there was a three-way play-off in the Palmer group as the three players all finished on two points.
Lowry lost to George Coetzee 3&2 but battered Peter Hanson 5&4 in his two matches on the day to force a play-off, and he then became the first man through with a birdie at the second play-off hole and was joined by Hanson with a par.