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Els to Face Drummond in First Round of HSBC World Match Play

Ernie Els
South African Ernie Els, the five-time winner and title holder, will face reigning Volvo PGA Champion, Scott Drummond of Scotland, in the first round of the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth Club on Thursday.

The intriguing clash of the first and 16th seed sees the start of Els’s challenge to surpass the achievements of Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros by becoming the first player to capture six Match Play titles.

Els collected a hat-trick of titles between 1994 and 1996 and his subsequent victories in 2002 and 2003 mean he is perched on the brink of creating history over the famous West Course at Wentworth Club.

However Drummond has something in his record that Els would dearly love – a Volvo PGA Championship, which he secured as a 500-1 outsider in May this year, to earn a five year exemption on The European Tour.

Els, currently heading the Volvo Order of Merit, recently moved above Tiger Woods to Number Two in the world, just behind the new Number One on the Official World Golf Ranking, Vijay Singh of Fiji.

Vijay Singh
Singh, seeded two this week, defeated Els in the 1997 final to win his one and only Match Play crown to date, and the US PGA Champion meets Germany’s Bernhard Langer in the first round.

It will be Langer’s first appearance back in Europe since his heroic Team beat the United States by a record margin of 18 ½ - 9 ½ at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan. A finalist in 1984 and 1985, Langer lost out on both occasions to Ballesteros.

US Open Champion, the third seed, tackles American Jeff Maggert while Canadian Mike Weir is ranked fourth and his first round opponent will be Frenchman, Thomas Levet, who enjoyed a successful Ryder Cup singles win over Fred Funk.

Padraig Harrington, who lost an epic final to Ian Woosnam in 2001, is seeded fifth and takes on American Ryder Cup player, Chris Riley, while Open Champion, Todd Hamilton, is the sixth seed and his opponent is 2000 winner, Lee Westwood.

All matches are over 36 holes and this year the field has been increased from 12 to 16, so negating the need for four players receiving a bye into Friday’s second round.

Prize money for the 2004 Championship has increased by £140,000 on 2003 to £2.44 million in 2004 with the following breakdown:Winner £1,000,000; Runner-up £400,000; Losing Semi-Finalist (x 2) £ 120,000; Losing Quarter-Finalist (x 4) £80,000;First Round Loser (x 8) £ 60,000.

Full first round draw (seeds in brackets):

Match 1 Ernie ELS (1) vs Scott DRUMMOND (16)
08.20 & 12.45

Match 2 K J CHOI (8) vs Angel CABRERA (9)
08.32 & 12.57

Match 3 Padriag HARRINGTON (5) vs Chris RILEY (12) .08.44 & 13.09

Match 4 Mike WEIR (4) vs Thomas LEVET (13)
08.56 & 13.21

Match 5 Retief GOOSEN (3) vs Jeff MAGGERT (14)
09.08 & 13.33

Match 6 Todd HAMILTON (6) vs Lee WESTWOOD (11). 09.20 & 13.45

Match 7 Miguel Angel JIMENEZ (7) vs Steve FLESCH (10). 09.32 & 13.57

Match 8 Vijay SINGH (2) vs Bernhard LANGER (15)
09.44 & 14.09


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