In a field of familiar greats, Pablo Larrazabal is a bit of an outsider at the London Golf Club, at least until he defies logic, reason, and physics.
Larrazabal holed out on a pitch from the rough for a birdie 4 that beat Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher 1 up on the second day of round-robin play at the Volvo Match Play Championship on Thursday.
Larrazabal stays alive to advance to the quarterfinals with the victory. He’s tied with Shane Lowry, his opponent on Friday, atop the Gabrielsson pool standings.
Larrazabal jumped out to a 2-hole lead with consecutive birdies, only to watch Gallacher hit three of his own between No. 3 and No. 6. Larrazabal tied things back on No. 12.
France’s Victor Dubuisson improved to 2-0 with a 3&2 win over Shane Lowry. Lowry won just three holes, and after Dubuisson’s birdie on No. 4, never even got back to even.
The biggest rout on the day came courtesy Joost Luiten, who sent Alexander Levy to 0-2 with a 4&3 triumph. Down one through four holes, Luiten fired birdies on 6, 7, 9, 10, and 11 to walk off the course after 15 holes.
The upset of the day came from Finland’s Mikko Ilonen, who knocked off Graeme McDowell 2&1. Ilonen got things going on the front nine plus one, leading by four holes at that point. McDowell chipped away with birdies on 11, 13 and 15, but Ilonen countered on 17 to claim the victory.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson gave Italy’s Franceso Molinari a taste of what made the Swede arguably the best golfer in the world in 2013. Down two holes through 9 and still down one through 14, Stenson ran off three straight birdies on 15-17 to take the 2&1 win.
Also taking victories on the day were: George Coetzee, 2&1 over Thongchai Jaidee; Jamie Donaldson, 3&2 over Jonas Blixt; and Patrick Reed, 2&1 over Paul Casey.