Volvo World Match Play Championship: Brett Rumford on course for a place in record books
Last Updated: 18/05/13 5:54pm
Brett Rumford's bid to join Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros in the record books remained on course as Nicolas Colsaerts also kept alive his hopes of defending his Volvo World Match Play Championship title in Bulgaria.
After successive victories at the Ballantine's Championship and Volvo China Open two weeks ago, Rumford is looking to become only the third man in European Tour history to win three consecutive events this week at Thracian Cliffs.
Only Faldo in 1983 and the late Ballesteros three years later have achieved the remarkable feat, but Rumford was not looking fazed by the size of his task as he reached the last 16 of the £2.5million event with a game to spare.
The 35-year-old Australian was eight under par in the 15 holes it took to beat Jamie Donaldson 5&3, with a second defeat for Donaldson meaning Rumford and Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano were assured of advancing from their group before meeting this afternoon.
"I'm really happy," said Rumford. "Jamie got off to a bad start and I capitalised on that and was three up after four holes.
"I know Jamie fought hard yesterday (Thursday) afternoon and I wanted to try to conserve as much energy as I could so it was nice to close it out sooner rather than later.
"Seve was an inspiration to all European Tour players. He was a great player and fierce in match play which is what you need. It would be an honour to match his achievement."
Colsaerts lost to Branden Grace on Thursday but beat Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat 3&2 on Friday morning to at least guarantee himself a play-off, something he needed last year as well after a draw and a defeat in his two group matches.
Friday's Group stage results
C Wood bt S Gallacher 2&1
T Jaidee bt T Aiken by 1hole
G Coetzee bt S Lowry 3&2
R Sterne bt G Ogilvy 5&4
N Colsaerts bt K Aphibarnrat 3&2
F Molinari bt F Aguilar 4&3
S Jamieson bt C Pettersson by 1hole
B Rumford bt J Donaldson 5&3
A win for Grace against Aphibarnrat would see him top the group and also seal Colsaerts' place in the last 16, while a win for Aphibarnrat would mean a three-way play-off with all three players on two points each.
Another play-off was a possibility in the Mark McCormack group, where Scott Jamieson had beaten Carl Pettersson by one hole to join the Swede on two points and make the game between Jamieson and Thorbjorn Olesen decisive.
Thongchai Jaidee, who beat Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter on day one, secured his place in the next round with victory on the 18th against Thomas Aiken, with that group now coming down to Poulter versus Aiken.
"I'm really happy. Jamie got off to a bad start and I capitalised on that and was three up after four holes."
Poulter's Medinah team-mate Francesco Molinari moved into tomorrow's knockout stages courtesy of his second win of the week, a 4&3 success against Felipe Aguilar of Chile who now faces Henrik Stenson to decide their fate, while Richard Sterne also advanced by adding a 5&4 success over former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy.
The Seve Ballesteros group could also see a play-off after Chris Wood bounced back from his defeat to Graeme McDowell on Thursday to defeat Stephen Gallacher 2&1, leaving Gallacher needing to beat McDowell this afternoon.
Ireland's Shane Lowry also needs to beat Peter Hanson to get into a play-off with the Swede and George Coetzee after losing 3&2 to Coetzee.