Graeme McDowell begins World Match Play defence with victory

McDowell begins Match Play defence with victory
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Sports Mole rounds up the action from day one of the World Match Play as Graeme McDowell begins the defence of his title with a 3&2 victory over Alexander Levy.

Graeme McDowell started the defence of his World Match Play crown with a 3&2 victory over Alexander Levy in wet conditions at the London Golf Club on Wednesday.

The Irishman raced into a three-hole lead over the winner of last week's rain-affected Portugal Masters and maintained control as he closed the match out on the 16th.

He next faces Finn Mikko Ilonen, who surrendered the lead on the 14th hole on his way to defeat by Sweden's Joost Luiten in the Gustaf Larsson Group's other encounter.

Ryder Cup hero Jamie Donaldson was beaten 2&1 by Paul Casey, and a man who was on the opposite end of the result in Gleneagles, American Patrick Reed, lost to Jonas Blixt on the final hole in the Mark McCormack Group.

There were mixed fortunes for two other members of Paul McGinley's victorious European team as Victor Dubuission bested Pablo Larrazabal 3&2, while Stephen Gallacher went down to Shane Lowry by the same scoreline in the Assar Gabrielsson Group.

The Arnold Palmer Group is the most open after the opening round of matches courtesy of Henrik Stenson's half with George Coetzee, who birdied the 18th to ensure that things finished all square.

Last year's runner-up, Thongchai Jaidee, got the better of a topsy-turvy finish to his tie with Francesco Molinari in the same pool as Stenson, who is the only player in the world's top 10 competing in Kent.

Jamie Donaldson of Europe celebrates on the 15th hole after Europe won the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles on September 28, 2014
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