European Tour

Luiten steamrolls Larrazabal

Joost Luiten (AFP)
Joost Luiten (AFP)

London - Joost Luiten has remained the only unbeaten player at the Volvo World Match Play Championship on Saturday winning his quarter-final tie 6 and 5 over a hapless Pablo Larrazabal of Spain.

The Dutchman was the only player to win all three of his group matches on the way to the last eight at London Golf Club and the outcome of his clash with Larrazabal was never in doubt as Luiten stormed ahead for the largest winning margin of the week.

The 28-year-old, who was considered for a Ryder Cup wild card by European captain Paul McGinley, was gifted the opening hole when Larrazabal found water with his approach to the par five, and then won the second, fifth, sixth and seventh to move five up.

"The course is playing soft so I think a lot of the boys out there are having a lot of birdies and you really have to make birdies to win holes," said Luiten, who won the Wales Open last month.

Luiten will next go up against Finland's Mikko Ilonen who eased home 2 up over French Ryder Cup standout Victor Dubuisson.

Ilonen fell behind quickly but quickly battled back and he led by one after 14 holes. A superb eagle from Dubuisson levelled matters but the Frenchman gave that one back immediately and a poor second at the last sealed his fate.

The other semi-final will be between George Coetzee, the South African who was a late callup to replace the injured Thomas Bjorn, and world number five Henrik Stenson.

Coetzee defeated US Ryder Cup player Patrick Reed 2 and 1, making sure of his place in the semi-finals with his eighth birdie of the day on the 16th and a par on the 17th to seal the win.

"I wish I could get into every tournament as the last man if this is the golf I'm going to play," said Coetzee.

Stenson looked set to win comfortably against Jonas Blixt of Sweden, enjoying a three-hole lead with a handful of holes left to play.

But the previously struggling Blixt suddenly staged a late comeback as the bad weather came in and the tie went down to the par-five last where Stenson clinched it with a superb second to the edge of the green to ensure a 2 up victory.

"Everyone comes back at me," admitted Stenson. "No one lets me have an easy finish here, which you kind of expect that but not every time. He definitely pushed an old man all the way to the last there and made it very interesting."

Results from the fourth day of the European Tour World Match Play Championship at the London Golf Club, Kent, England, on Saturday:

Joost Luiten (NED) bt Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 6 and 5
Mikko Ilonen (FIN) bt Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 2 up
Henrik Stenson (SWE) bt Jonas Blixt (SWE) 2 up
George Coetzee (RSA) bt Patrick Reed (USA) 2 and 1

Semi-finals (Sunday morning):

Luiten v Ilonen

Stenson v Coetzee

(Final to be played Sunday afternoon)

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