All five English golfers including titleholder Ian Poulter were eliminated at the World Match Play Championship in Casares, Spain yesterday.
Poulter had gone eight games unbeaten in the prestigious tournament, but found Spain’s Alvaro Quiros in imperious form, going down 4-and-3, while compatriot and second seed Justin Rose, having humbled Open winner Darren Clarke on Friday, was hammered 4-and-3 by Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts.
Poulter refused to blame his defeat on having had his foot run over by a golf buggy earlier in the week.
“I don’t need excuses,” said Poulter.
“I had plenty of chances and didn’t take them — simple. I just didn’t play good enough,” he said.
Joining Quiros and Colsaerts in the quarter-finals later yesterday were Northern Ireland’s former US Open champion Graeme McDowell, who has a mouthwatering clash with dashing Spaniard Sergio Garcia, after beating unheralded Englishman Richard Finch.
Scotland’s rejuvenated 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie, who looks set for a return to the European Ryder Cup team this year after a 13 year hiatus, strolled to an impressive 5-and-4 thrashing of veteran Dane Thomas Bjorn.
He will play South African star Retief Goosen — who beat England’s Robert Rock — for a place in the semi-finals.
Garcia, who has like Lawrie shown a return to a semblance of the form that had him up at the top of the world elite until suffering a slide in form three years ago, beat promising English youngster Tom Lewis, winner of his maiden EPGA title in only his third tournament last year’s Portugal Masters, 4-and-3.