World Matchplay: Master of 2-balls McDowell can defend title

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Throughout golfing history some players have become synonymous with their abilities to succeed in matchplay format and as Graeme McDowell returns to defend his 2013 Volvo World crown he has a brilliant chance of joining a select elite.

In the prestigious event’s 42-year history no one has dominated it like Ernie Els, who has claimed seven separate titles and defended it successfully no fewer than four times.

Even the late, great Seve Ballesteros’ five trophies and two successful defences can’t compare to the evergreen South African.

There have been several other multiple winners of this title and McDowell’s Ryder Cup form in particular, where the Brit nailed down three out of three points, suggests he’s a very good bet at 5/1 to join them.

The 2010 US Open winner’s last two appearances in the World Matchplay Championships have seen him reach the final, where he lost out to Nicolas Colsaerts in 2012 before defeating Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee a year ago in Bulgaria.

This year the slimmed down 16-man event featuring just four groups of four, where the top two qualify for the quarters following a round robin format, returns to English shores at the London Golf Club in Kent for the first time.

Joost Luiten, whom G-Mac plays third, is seems sure to provide the Portrush native with the stiffest test in his group where his seeding has seen him swerve many other big guns. McDowell is 6/4 to top Group Larson.

Elsewhere, other seeded European Ryder Cup stars are headed in the overall betting by Henrik Stenson, who is the 4/1 favourite ahead of McDowell, with Victor Dubuisson (8/1), Jamie Donaldson at 12s and Stephen Gallacher a 20/1 shot.

However, Patrick Reed, the only American to have accepted their invitation, is perhaps worth some pennies at 8/1 for victory.

The fist-pumping Ryder Cup rookie stunned Gleneagles with some exceptional golf and looks like he will thrive for many years to come in the matchplay arena.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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