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Lawrie marks 500th European Tour event with crushing victories

updated 7:06 PM EDT, Sat May 19, 2012
Paul Lawrie was impeccable from tee to green as he progressed to the last four of the Volvo World Match Play.
Paul Lawrie was impeccable from tee to green as he progressed to the last four of the Volvo World Match Play.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Paul Lawrie reaches last four at Volvo World Match Play
  • Veteran Scot thrashes Thomas Bjorn and Retief Goosen
  • 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell beats Sergio Garcia
  • Jason Dufner leads Byron Nelson Classic after third round

(CNN) -- Former British Open champion Paul Lawrie marked his 500th European Tour start by powering into the semifinals of the World Match Play in Spain Saturday.

The 43-year-old Scot will play Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts with the other semifinal between 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and home hope Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

Lawrie, who has enjoyed a renaissance this season, scored two emphatic victories to reach the last four.

He beat Dane Thomas Bjorn 5&4 in their last 16 clash at Finca Cortesin and then saw off two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa 6&5 in the blustery conditions.

Lawrie, who famously won his only major title at a windswept Carnoustie in 1999, was delighted with his performance:

I have to play G Mac, and he has a lot of experience and is a Ryder Cup hero, so he's obviously going to be a very, very tough guy to beat,
Rafael Cabrera-Bello

"You can't really ask for more than that," Lawrie told the official European Tour website.

"The wind really picked up and under par you are going to be tough to beat."

Earlier, defending champion Ian Poulter exited at the last 16 stage to Alvaro Quiros, losing 4&3.

But Quiros in turn lost 3&1 to Cabrera-Bello in their all-Spanish quarterfinal.

McDowell, the hero of Europe's 2010 Ryder Cup win over the United States, eased past England's Richard Finch 3&2 in the morning.

But his quarterfinal against Spain's Sergio Garcia was a far closer affair. The Northern Ireland star missed a five-foot putt to win on the 18th and had more good fortune at the first extra hole.

Garcia charged a 15-footer for victory and missed the return putt, leaving McDowell breathing a sigh of relief as he holed a par putt to go through.

But Dubai Desert Classic winner Cabrera-Bello knows he faces a tough fight to reach the final against McDowell.

"I have to play G Mac, and he has a lot of experience and is a Ryder Cup hero, so he's obviously going to be a very, very tough guy to beat," he added.

Meanwhile, Jason Dufner leads the way after the third round of the Byron Nelson Classic in Texas.

Dufner carded a 69 to stay two shots ahead of fellow Americans J.J. Henry and Dicky Pride and Australian Jason Day.

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