KAVARNA, Bulgaria (AP) — Graeme McDowell reached the semifinals of the World Match-Play Championship after knocking out defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts on Saturday in a match that featured a bizarre moment where his opponent had to take a penalty drop inside a toilet.
McDowell fought back from being 1 down after two holes to win 2 and 1 over his European Ryder Cup teammate on the oceanside Thracian Cliffs course and will next face Branden Grace of South Africa, who beat Chris Wood of England 2 and 1. The other semifinal will pit Thomas Aiken of South Africa against Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee.
But it was Colsaerts who had the most memorable moment of the day when his tee shot on the short par-4 10th hole flew into a hazard behind a public toilet in a brick building close to the green. Because of where the ball had crossed the hazard line, tournament officials ruled that the penalty drop must be made within the toilet itself, creating a comical moment that had Colsearts, his caddie and rules officials all laughing.
"I ain't hitting it out of the loo," Colsearts joked.
He didn't have to. Since it was considered an immovable obstruction he was then given free relief to play from outside.
He ended up saving par and halving the hole.
"I'm sure now the whole episode at 10 is going to make all the TV news programs, Facebook and all the social media sites with the caption: 'Here's some Belgium guy playing golf in some toilet block in Bulgaria,'" Colsaerts joked. "It's the first time I've ever hit a ball into a toilet block and you would have thought as a kid I would have been crazy enough to practice that shot, but I never did."
McDowell is the highest-ranked player in the event at No. 8 and is looking to become the first Northern Irishman to win the event.
"This is an historic event and it's a trophy that has all the legends of the game appearing on it," he said. "I think back to the golden years around Wentworth and watching all of my heroes winning this great, great tournament and I would be dearly love to add my name to that list but there is three other guys still left in the event who also feel the same way as I do."
Grace sealed his win with over Wood with birdies at 16 and 17, while Thongchai defeated Scotland's Scott Jamieson 4 and 3 and Aiken ousted Italy's Francesco Molinari 3 and 2.
"I only made one mistake today and that was on nine this afternoon, and the key for me is that I have been playing very solid and I am very happy with my golf game," Thongchai said.