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McDowell pressure

McDowell takes one step closer to Portrush Open with latest win

It wasn't quite enough to seal his dream of qualifying for The Open in his hometown, but Graeme McDowell has put himself in a good position, writes Mark Townsend
 

Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship report: So what happened?

This wasn’t quite how any of us pictured it but Graeme McDowell’s win at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship made it four European wins in four consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour for the first time in the modern era.

While the top 64, or thereabouts, were battling it out in Texas McDowell was piecing together a 69 for a one-shot win in the Dominican Republic over Chris Stroud and Mackenzie Hughes.

It is his first win on the PGA Tour, or anywhere for that matter, since 2015.

The bulk of his good work was done by back-to-back 64s in the middle rounds and on Saturday he started the day with 15 straight one-putts, in the end he finished with just 20 putts.

Afterwards he credited an old breathing technique as a big reason for his success on the greens – before he takes the putter away he would start breathing out to relax.

“It’s something I used to do very well way back when and it’s amazing how you instinctively get good at things and then you stop being good at things as well,” he said. “That’s cleaned my routines well up on the greens.”

And he then birdied four of the first seven holes on Sunday. But Stroud led by one with two to play but bogeyed both holes while McDowell birdied 17 and could also afford to drop a shot at the 72nd hole. Hughes also closed with a bogey in his 66.

Final leaderboard

Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship report: The talking point

McDowell still isn’t eligible for Augusta, opposite-field events don’t get you to the Masters, but it does mean the 39-year-old is in the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

He is already in the US Open at Pebble Beach, thanks to his victory there in 2010.

As for The Open Championship and Royal Portrush, where the World No. 257 grew up, he is still not in though this will obviously boost his hopes in terms of some better starts.

Mark Townsend

Been watching and playing golf since the early 80s and generally still stuck in this period. Huge fan of all things Robert Rock, less so white belts. Handicap of 8, fragile mind and short game

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