McDowell gets the perfect start

Defending champion Graeme McDowell began the Volvo World Matchplay Championship with a win over Alexander Levy on Wednesday.

The Northern Irishman was up against the Portugal Masters winner and they were all square after three holes at the London Club.

But McDowell would go on to birdie five out of the next seven holes and the Frenchman could just not keep up. McDowell sealed the 3&2 win with a half on the 16th.

“There are no easy matches and you can’t take anyone lightly, especially a guy who won last week, so I’m very happy to get the victory,” the 35-year-old told Sky Sports.

“I was hot on the greens and he was cold and that was the difference. It’s important to control your own destiny in the group stages, you don’t want to be relying on other people and if I can win tomorrow I will be in a great position.”

In other results, South Africa’s George Coetzee put on a good display against world number five as the pair halved their match while Shane Lowry carded a seven under round to defeat Stephen Gallacher.

Also in action was Frenchman Victor Dubuisson who rolled over Pablo Larrazabal after the Spaniard failed to card a single birdie on the London course.

Finally, Patrick Reed’s two bridies were eclipsed by Jonas Blixt’s four as he slumped to 2&1 loss.

“It was one of those days where both of us played pretty solid but at the end of the day I didn’t really make anything,” said Reed.

“I missed a short one on six and it seemed like that was the story of the day, just missing putts left and right.”

Wednesday also saw wins for Joost Luiten, Thongchai Jaidee and England’s Paul Casey.