Golf: Graeme McDowell tames Thongchai Jaidee to win first World Match Play crown

KAVARNA, Bulgaria (REUTERS) - Britain's Graeme McDowell came from behind to win his maiden World Match Play Championship with a 2 & 1 victory over Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee on Sunday.

Former US Open champion McDowell, the highest-ranked player in the field, battled back from two holes down after four to secure his eighth European Tour title.

"I'm very excited because it's a massive event and it was hugely disappointing to lose the final last year," said McDowell, who was beaten by Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts in 2012. "This was a fantastic week for me."

Thongchai, a five-time European Tour winner, holed a 25-footer at the second to go one up with a birdie and then doubled his lead at the long fourth by converting from five feet after McDowell missed a 10-foot birdie attempt.

McDowell, who secured his final berth with a 3 & 2 win over South Arica's Branden Grace earlier on Sunday while Thongchai beat South Africa's Thomas Aiken 3 & 2, cut the deficit when he birdied the short seventh from six feet and levelled with a birdie at the 12th.

He took the lead for the first time by winning the 14th with a par after Thongchai drove into a bush and had to play out sideways, went two up after taking the 15th after a brilliant approach to five feet and closed out the match with a par on No. 17.

The US$3.85 million (S$4.83 million) tournament was staged at the the picturesque Black Sea resort of Thracian Cliffs near Kavarna as Bulgaria hosted a tour event for the first time after the competition was moved from Spain.