Published January 13, 2015
The World Match Play Championship final is set after Graeme McDowell and Thongchai Jaidee won their respective matches Sunday morning at Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort.
McDowell dispatched South African Branden Grace, 3 & 2, in the semifinals to reach the championship round for the second straight year. He fell to Nicolas Colsaerts in the 2012 final, but exacted revenge Saturday with a quarterfinal victory over the Belgian.
"When you get to this point of the tournament, especially when conditions are like they were this morning -- just absolutely perfect -- and when you're playing a guy like Branden Grace you have to play well," said the seven-time European Tour winner McDowell. "I played solidly today and hit a lot of quality shots."
Jaidee, a five-time winner on the circuit, clinched a final berth by taking down Thomas Aiken for the second time this week. Having already defeated Aiken in Friday's second round, the Thai golfer once again made a victim of the South African with a 3 & 2 semifinal triumph.
"You have to relax, like this week, I'm really relaxed," said Jaidee. "I really like my golfing right now, really consistent and also putting getting better, which is most important."
McDowell and Jaidee have continued their fine respective starts to the season here in Bulgaria, as neither player has dropped a match this week.
The 2010 U.S. Open champion McDowell is playing his first European Tour event of the year after posting four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour, including a victory at the RBC Heritage.
Jaidee, meanwhile, has recorded top-10 finishes in four of his eight European Tour starts and has yet to miss a cut.
"I have played with him many, many times in the past, great little player, great attitude for the sport," McDowell said of Jaidee. "He's going to be a tough guy to shake off. He plays the game very similar to myself, fairways and greens, good short iron player, good putter. He's got the right kind of game for match play, so I'm expecting a tough game."