McDowell and Lowry progress in World Matchplay in Bulgaria

Poulter crashes out, labelling performance ‘disgusting, disgraceful and unacceptable’

 Brett Rumford  shakes hands with Jamie Donaldson  after winning his match  on day two of the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort in Kavarna, Bulgaria. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Brett Rumford shakes hands with Jamie Donaldson after winning his match on day two of the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort in Kavarna, Bulgaria. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Fri, May 17, 2013, 21:35

Graeme McDowell advanced to the last 16 of the Volvo World Match Play championship with a win over Stephen Gallacher today, while Ian Poulter suffered an early exit.

McDowell, ranked eighth in the world, defeated Chris Wood at Thracian Cliffs on Thursday before dispatching Gallacher, 4 and 2, today to clinch a third-round berth.

Wood also played his way into the weekend with a win over Gallacher this morning.

Offalyman Shane Lowry, Peter Hanson and George Coetzee all finished with two points, resulting in the only play-off of the day. Hanson and Lowry eventually advanced from that group.

Poulter labelled his performance as “disgusting, disgraceful and unacceptable” as he crashed out of event in Kavarna.

Poulter, who inspired Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph at Medinah last year with four wins from four matches, lost his opening group game to Thongchai Jaidee on Thursday and was beaten on the 18th hole today by Thomas Aiken.

Two down with four to play, Poulter got back on level terms with birdies on the 15th and 16th, but then bogeyed the last after hooking his drive onto the adjacent fourth fairway and failing to get up and down after hitting his approach just over the green.

“I have no excuses,” said Poulter, who won the event in 2011 and felt it had come at the right time after missing the cut at the Players Championship last week followed a first missed cut of his career at the US Masters. “There is no excuse for that display of golf over the last two days. 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 pissed off. I will stay pissed off for a couple of hours and then get to England and win at Wentworth (venue for next week’s BMW PGA Championship).”

Henrik Stenson, who tied for fifth at last week’s Players Championship, also endured a surprising early exit. The Swede fell to Ryder Cup star Francesco Molinari on Thursday, and when the Italian dispatched Felipe Aguilar, 4 and 3, yesterday, the two losers squared off in a win-or-go-home duel. Aguilar, the lowest ranked player in the field, prevailed, taking the last four holes to oust Stenson, 3 and 1. “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. “I played pretty good – I think the difference was I didn’t make any bogeys, so I played like medal play and only took a risk on a few holes.”

Defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts recovered from Thursday’s loss to Branden Grace by defeating Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 3 and 2. That triumph, coupled with Grace and Aphibarnrat halving the afternoon’s match, pushed the reigning champ and the South African through to the weekend.

Red-hot Brett Rumford and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano squared off in the afternoon, with the latter taking a 3 and 2 decision, but the match was elementary since both players defeated Jamie Donaldson earlier in the tournament to advance.