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Young Tom Lewis had holder Ian Poulter willing him to victory as the Volvo World Match Play Championship continued in Spain.
If Lewis beat John Senden in the second series of group games then Poulter, having already defeated the Australian, could not fail to reach the last 16.
The 21-year-old, who led the Open as an amateur last year and then won the Portugal Masters on only his third start as a professional, drew first blood when Senden conceded the long third and went two-up with a par four on the next.
Poulter and Lewis are from the same county of Hertfordshire and Poulter was recently shown a photograph of a 10-year-old Lewis caddying for him at Welwyn Garden.
Scot Paul Lawrie had the chance to be the first player to secure a spot in the knock-out stages. He was one of only two players - Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello was the other - to beat a higher seed on the opening day.
Lawrie, who came from behind to beat Swede Peter Hanson, was straight back into action against Camilo Villegas, but bogeyed the first to fall behind to the Colombian.
Cabrera-Bello overcame top seed Martin Kaymer and this morning turned his attentions to tournament outsider Richard Finch, ranked only 218th in the world.
The Hull golfer had qualified for the 24-man field through his third place finish at last month's Volvo China Open, top two Branden Grace and Nicolas Colsaerts having already earned spots.
Grace was level after three holes with Dane Thomas Bjorn, who lost to American Brandt Snedeker yesterday, while Colsaerts had halved with Charl Schwartzel and was now facing another South African, Retief Goosen.
Even a half between Lewis and Senden was good enough to put Poulter through, but Lewis was already in a commanding position after six holes. Senden bogeyed again there and was three down.
Lawrie levelled with a par on the long third, but drove into the lake on the next and went behind again, while Open champion Darren Clarke took the early advantage against England's Robert Rock, crushed 7&6 by compatriot Justin Rose yesterday.
It came "against the head", however. Clarke was bunkered off the tee and could not make the green, but he got up and down whereas Rock three-putted for bogey.
Senden birdied the seventh, but promptly ran up a bogey on the next to go three down again.
Lewis was the one to make a mistake at the ninth, though, and with seven to play he remained two up.
Lawrie had the same deficit after making a mess of the short 10th, while Clarke led Rock by one after six and Finch fell three down to Cabrera-Bello after four.