The Paul Lawrie Match Play tournament began on Thursday with a ton of matches involving many of the best players in Europe.
Some have been stars in years past, while others are promising talents who have graced the biggest world stages before but are fighting to get back there. Lawrie exercised great judgment in assembling an intriguing group of competitors—including himself.
Check out the full results from Murcar Links Golf Club in Aberdeen, Scotland, in the table below. A full bracket can be found at the European Tour's official website.
|2015 Paul Lawrie Match Play Results: Thursday, July 30|
|Winning Player||Margin||Losing Player|
|Julien Quesne||2 and 1||Tom Lewis|
|Jeev Milkha Singh||1 up||Scott Hend|
|Michael Hoey||2 and 1||Maximilian Kieffer|
|Kristoffer Broberg||2 and 1||Richard Finch|
|Richie Ramsay||1 up||Shiv Kapur|
|Edoardo Molinari||5 and 4||Magnus Carlsson|
|Matthew Fitzpatrick||6 and 4||Bradley Dredge|
|Peter Uihlein||2 up||Oliver Wilson|
|Chris Wood||5 and 4||Jbe Kruger|
|Jorge Campillo||2 up||John Daly|
|Seve Benson||1 up||Raphael Jacquelin|
|Gregory Havret||5 and 4||David Horsey|
|Alexander Levy||2 up||Mark Foster|
|Morten Orum Madsen||2 up||Alvaro Quiros|
|Tyrrell Hatton||4 and 3||Darren Fichardt|
|Mikael Lundberg||3 and 1||Robert Rock|
|Chris Doak||1 up||Anthony Wall|
|Paul Lawrie||5 and 4||Romain Wattel|
|Thomas Aiken||3 and 2||Scott Jamieson|
|Andrew Dodt||1 up (19 holes)||Oliver Fisher|
|Alejandro Canizares||7 and 6||Lucas Bjerregaard|
|Robert Karlsson||3 and 2||Marcus Fraser|
|Nicolas Colsaerts||2 and 1||Gregory Bourdy|
|Trevor Fisher Jr.||2 up||Thorbjorn Olesen|
|David Howell||1 up (19 holes)||Daniel Brooks|
|David Drysdale||1 up (19 holes)||Thomas Pieters|
|Kiradech Aphibarnrat||1 up (19 holes)||Wade Ormsby|
|Graeme Storm||1 up||Andrew Johnston|
|James Morrison||2 and 1||Pelle Edberg|
|Johan Carlsson||2 and 1||Marco Crespi|
|Marc Warren||1 up||Richard Bland|
|Fabrizio Zanotti||1 up||Felipe Aguilar|
Thirty-two matches can make one's head spin, but Lawrie is a suitable place to begin.
The 1999 Open Championship winner teed it up in his own event and defeated Romain Wattel 5 and 4. A birdie at the par-four first got Lawrie off to a proper start.
After Wattel responded to square the match with birdie at No. 3, Lawrie rattled off three birdies in a row to pull ahead. Another birdie at the par-five ninth and an eagle three at the 11th put the match out of reach for Wattel.
One standout from the morning matches was Matthew Fitzpatrick. The 2013 U.S. Amateur champion and low amateur at the British Open that year is still trying to find his stride as a pro, and held up well amid windy conditions to dominate Bradley Dredge 6 and 4.
Fresh off an encouraging runner-up finish at the Omega European Masters, Fitzpatrick may be on his way to bigger things soon enough.
Another intriguing talent from England who finished behind Fitzpatrick at last week's tournament is Tyrrell Hatton, who was thankful to get past Darren Fichardt 4 and 3 on the blustery set:
Hatton was leading by just one at the turn before carding a birdie at the 10th and a par at the 11th to put some distance between himself and Fichardt. From then on it was a matter of hanging on, which the precocious Hatton managed to do.
None of the final 10 matches on the schedule were decided by more than two holes, creating plenty of drama for the end of play. Commencing that set was Nicolas Colsaerts' 2 and 1 besting of Gregory Bourdy.
Colsaerts has nicknames such as the Belgian Bomber and the Muscles from Brussels for a reason. His long game and talent have never been in question, but consistency has been elusive.
The gifted 32-year-old's peak came in May 2012 when he won the Volvo World Match Play Championship, leading to a captain's Ryder Cup pick that season. Colsaerts admitted before this week began that he'd need to lean more on his flat iron than he did in his biggest win to date, per the European Tour website:
Obviously putting is crucial in either stroke play or match play golf but if you putt well you're usually going to come out on top. When I won the Volvo World Match Play in 2012 I could use my length to my advantage because the course allowed it. Here it's a little tighter and you're hitting more irons off the tee so putting will be crucial.
But with his history of success in this format, look for Colsaerts to be a huge factor down the stretch.
Marc Warren and Richard Bland waged a memorable battle in the penultimate match. European Tour sports psychologist Lee Crombleholme highlighted how well both men played:
A chance for birdie by Bland at the par-four last would have extended the match, but he pushed it to the right to give Warren the victory.
No. 1 overall seed James Morrison didn't exactly have an easy time securing his advancement past the knockout stage. Morrison closed out Pelle Edberg 2 and 1 not long before Warren escaped extra holes.
Lawrie carried over some nice form from St Andrews when he was up near the lead through the first two rounds. Next up for Lawrie is a fellow Scotsman in Chris Doak.
Among the most compelling battles in the second round are Fitzpatrick and Peter Uihlein, a skilled American who opted to play overseas before trying his talents on the PGA Tour. If Fitzpatrick moves on from there, he may well have a showdown with Hatton in the round of 16.