Quiros through as five crash out

European Tour

Alvaro Quiros has became the first player to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Volvo World Match Play Championship.

Alvaro Quiros on Friday morning became the first player to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Volvo World Match Play Championship – and did it in fine style.

The Spaniard spun his approach into the 14th hole at Finca Cortesin near Estepona for an eagle two that somehow fittingly completed a 5&4 victory over Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen.

Quiros had beaten world number nine Paul Casey – a former winner of the title – on the opening day of the eight-group round robin series and it has left Casey to fight it out with Kjeldsen this afternoon for the other place in the last 16.

Most of the big names were sitting out the morning, but Ian Poulter, who had halved his match with 2010 Ryder Cup team-mate Francesco Molinari on Thursday, found himself in a really tough game with Scotland’s former Open champion Paul Lawrie and ended up squaring this match as well.

Poulter will now be hoping that there is a winner and a loser this afternoon when Lawrie goes on to play Molinari in the final round robin match of their three-man group for that would enable the Englishman to squeak into the last 16 with the winner.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, who thrashed Masters champion Charl Schwartzel on day one, failed to produce another win against Johan Edfors this morning and eventually went down 2 & 1 to the Swede, who, this afternoon, will take on Schwartzel, the Masters champion, in the final match in this group knowing that victory will ensure his survival and end Schwartzel’s hopes of keeping himself in the contest.

In the next five matches, South African major winners Retief Goosen and Louis Oosthuizen, South Korea’s YE Yang, also the owner of a major title, Ryan Moore, the only American in the contest, and Dane Anders Hansen each of whom lost their first matches on Thursday, all went down again and effectively ruled themselves out of the knock-out stages of the contest starting on Saturday.

Goosen, who led Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts 2-up in the early stages of Friday morning’s round, lost by one hole to the Dane and Oosthuizen went down by the same margin to US PGA Tour rookie Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela.

Yang was edged out of the contest by the narrow margin of 2&1 by teenaged compatriot Seung-yul Noh, Moore was beaten by one hole by England’s Ross Fisher and Aaron Baddeley of Australia sent Hansen packing after also squeaking in 1-up in another edge-of-the-seat thriller.

Fisher, the defending champion, seemed to be heading for defeat when he was four down after seven holes to Moore, but he showed some match-play steel and staged a remarkable fightback when, still down by three with only four holes to go, he went on to win them all.

And what all this effectively means for Fisher, Colsaerts, Vegas, Noh and Baddeley is that win or lose this afternoon in the third and final round of the round robin series, the pressure is off and they are already sure of going through to the final 16 on Saturday.

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