No clubs No problem! Snedeker wins Matchplay opener with Bjorn despite starting with 10 in the bag
16:45 GMT, 17 May 2012
In a history going back to 1964 the World Match Play Championship has never seen anything quite like Brandt Snedeker's victory over Thomas Bjorn in Spain.
The 31-year-old American began his opening group game with just 10 clubs in his bag and yet won the first three holes before more arrived.
Snedeker was forced to seek replacements when his usual set went missing en route from Florida on Monday. They eventually showed up at Malaga Airport this morning, then were driven to Finca Cortesin an hour away and taken to him on the fourth tee.
Swing when you're winning: Snedeker had to start his round with clubs missing
Volvo World Match Play Championship
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Under the rules he was allowed only to add four to those he had started with, but was so happy with the driver he had borrowed from Australian John Senden and the putter he had chosen in the pro shop that he continued with them.
'The driver worked really well, so I think it’s mine now and no longer his,' said the three-time PGA Tour winner, who hopes to use this week to impress American Ryder Cup captain Davis Love.
'It was kind of a weird day to say the least. I didn’t like my chances at all actually – I knew Thomas was a world-class player and it was pretty windy, so I knew it favoured him.'
Put it there: Bjorn (left) congratulates Snedeker on his successful round
Bjorn, though, has been suffering from a virus lately – he pulled out of the last two events in America – and he could never recover from bogeying the opening three holes, falling five down after six and losing 5&4.
It was not the biggest defeat of the day, however. Robert Rock crashed 7&6 to fellow Englishman Justin Rose, who birdied the first five holes, winning four of them, and later added two more.
Rock is the player, of course, who in January went head-to-head with Tiger Woods and beat not just him, but also world top three Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood in Abu Dhabi.
Life's a beach: Snedeker performed admirably under the circumstances
The week is not yet over for Bjorn, Rock and the other five who lost on the opening day – Swedes Peter Hanson and Robert Karlsson, Senden, Alvaro Quiros and top seed Martin Kaymer, under the revised format since Volvo took over sponsorship of the famous event.
They could yet make it through to the last 16 if they win their second games. Ian Poulter won the title last year after failing to win either of his group matches – he halved them both.
Second seed Rose said: 'The game was good – I adjusted to the speed of the greens quickly and Robert didn't.'
All present: After a dash from the airport, Snedeker had all his clubs
His only hiccup came when he missed from three feet on the ninth after his opponent had holed from eight.'I had to remind myself to keep in it and play solid golf,' he added.
To guarantee himself a place in the knock-out stages Rose now needs only a half against Open champion Darren Clarke, the lowest-ranked player in the group after his slide to 70th in the world.
The same applies to Poulter against Tom Lewis, the 21-year-old who led the Open as an amateur last July and then won the Portugal Masters on only his third professional start.
Both are from Hertfordshire and Poulter was recently shown a picture of a 10-year-old Lewis caddying for him at Welwyn Garden.
'I think he's a great player. Also very shy, very quiet – that to me is probably the bit that he needs to try and change in a way,' said the extrovert Poulter after his 3&2 win over Senden.