Published May 20, 2012
CASARES, Spain – Nicolas Colsaerts birdied the second playoff hole to complete a comeback against Paul Lawrie and reach the final of the World Match Play Championship.
Colsaerts will play former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.
Colsaerts, who lost in the semifinals here last year, was 4 down after four holes but birdied the par-5 last to force a playoff against the 1999 British Open winner.
Both had a par on the 19th — Colsaerts making a 4-foot putt on the par-3 17th — before the Belgian made one from slightly further out to clinch victory.
"I didn't really feel that much pressure because I was 4 down all day, and I could see Paul wanted the match to finish early," said Colsaerts, who lost in a playoff to Ian Poulter in the 2011 semis.
Unlike Lawrie, McDowell managed to hold onto his early lead against home favorite Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
The Northern Irishman was 3 up after four holes, but had to wait until No. 18 to celebrate the win and give him the chance of his first tournament victory since the Chevron World Challenge in December 2010.
Cabrera-Bello could have taken the match to extra holes if he made birdie from just off the green but his putt slipped by the left of the cup before conceding after missing an attempt back up the hill.
The Spaniard, whose journey to the last four lifted him into the top 60 in the rankings and sealed a spot in next month's U.S Open, came from 2 down to beat Robert Karlsson in the last 16 and 3 down to overcome Alvaro Quiros in the quarters.
"It was a great game — Rafa is a hell of a player and I didn't want to see the 18th today," said McDowell, who made the winning putt for Europe at the 2010 Ryder Cup.
Play was suspended for an hour toward the end of both semifinals because of the threat of lightning. Wind was forecast for the final.