Fisher triumphs in Match-Play final
Ross Fisher captured the first Volvo World Match Play championship with a commanding performance.
England’s Ross Fisher won the first Volvo World Match Play championship with a commanding performance in the final at Finca Cortesin Golf Club in Spain on Sunday.
The tall, always-cool, 28-year-old Englishman who ironically lives at Wentworth, untill this year, the long-time home of the World Match Play Championship since 1964, beat the aggressive American Ryder Cup star Anthony Kim 4 & 3 in a 36-hole final on Sunday that never looked like going any other way but Fisher’s
His win takes him to a career low 17th in the world only hours after Poulter’s one-shot win in Singapore had taken him to a best-ever 15th.
Earning a cheque for nearly £676,000 also takes last year’s European Open champion to fourth on this season’s Order of Merit list and he could go top by winning the HSBC Champions in Shanghai next Sunday.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” he said. “It’s been a long, gruelling week, but obviously very worthwhile.
“This course was very physically demanding and I don’t think I am the fittest of blokes out here. I know I need to work a lot more in the gym.
“The only thing that’s been missing this year was a win. I feel I’ve been very consistent and to be the leading guy in the majors (in terms of shots taken) shows my golf has been very good.”
After coming close to winning the US Open and then leading the Open early on the final day – his hopes crashed with a quadruple-bogey eight – Fisher became a father for the first time a week later.
That may well have had something to do with him being slow off the blocks in the Ryder Cup qualifying race but that has all changed now. He has charged from 107th to fifth in one mighty leap.
Even if he ends up needing a wild card, captain Colin Montgomerie will have surely noted down that his performance in Spain came after he reached the semi-finals of the Accenture match play in Arizona in February.
This time he went further by overcoming Masters champion Angel Cabrera at the third extra hole and was never behind in the final from the moment he birdied the first.
“I think this format suits me,” he continued. “I’m quite an aggressive player and sometimes it’s caught me out in the past but the best player in the world is an aggressive player and he hasn’t done too badly.
“That’s where I draw inspiration from – try to be aggressive but smart as well.”
It was a policy that paid dividends on the 22nd and 23rd.
First he drove to the back of the green on the 334-yard par four and holed a 35-footer for eagle, then he two-putted the next for a birdie that took him three clear after Kim had opened the door by driving up against somew rocks.
Kim responded straightaway with a 15-foot putt but was kicking himself for three-putting the following two holes – the second after missing from less than two feet.
Fisher, who missed from three feet and duffed a chip on the same two, was then in danger of losing the 27th but made a 20-footer with his opponent only five feet away. It was halved in birdies.
Kim’s duffed chip on the next did prove costly and he went four down with four to play when Fisher birdied the 32nd after a pitch to five feet.
The Los Angeles golfer – caught in controversy over alleged late-night drinking at last month’s Presidents Cup – may not have realised when he had beaten Sergio Garcia at the Ryder Cup last year, but he knew when he had lost this match.
It came when Fisher matched his par four on the next.
The best golf of the day actually came in the 18-hole third-place play-off, where Robert Allenby beat Cabrera at the first extra hole.
Allenby holed in one with a five wood to the 230-yard sixth, was one one down with one to play, birdied the par-five last for a matching eight-under-par 64 – and then made an 18-footer for eagle when they went into sudden death.
His reward was a cheque for more than £225,308 and Cabrera, runner-up to Ernie Els two years ago, took away more than £180,000.
And, like Kim, they were only there because others rejected the chance.
ALL THE FINAL DAY SCORES (Par 72, Seeded positions in brackets):
(10) Ross Fisher (Eng) bt (9) Anthony Kim (USA) 4 & 3
Third place play-off
(12) Robert Allenby (Aus) bt (11) Angel Cabrera (Arg) at 19th hole
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