GRAEME MCDOWELL MAY have come up one putt short at the US Open last night, but his near miss at San Francisco’s Olympic Club has convinced him that he can win another major title.
The 32-year-old was an upset winner of the year’s second major at nearby Pebble Beach two years ago, and his fondness for coastal Calfornia saw him back in the hunt this week.
Joint overnight leader alongside Jim Furyk, McDowell got off to a poor start in the final round with three bogeys in the first six holes. But he battled back bravely and a birdie at the 17th left him needing a further birdie at the last to force an 18-hole playoff with American Webb Simpson.
McDowell hit a wonderful approach shot to the elevated green at the 18th, but failed to sink a downhill 24-foot putt.
“I was behind the eight ball early today. Everything from there was a fight, really,” he said. ”It didn’t give me a chance to do all the things that I talked about after my round last night that I felt that I did well yesterday, feed off the crowd, enjoy get in a good groove, a good rhythm.
“This golf course doesn’t allow you to get in a rhythm and today was a real grind, it was a slog, and I was just happy the way I hung in and made a few birdies.”
McDowell also believes that his performance in San Francisco this week will be key to getting himself back into contenton in the top golf tournaments. His breakthrough win at Pebble Beach was followed by his sinking the winning putt for Europe in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor later the same year.
He has freely admitted that all the attention and acclaim that came his way eventually adversely affected his golf game. He went win-less last year and, a second place finish to Tiger Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitational apart, he has mainly struggled again this year, missing the cut in his two starts prior to San Francisco.
“Today has reinforced to me that I can compete and win more major Championships,” he said. ”It’s been a frustrating five or six weeks for me, but I knew in my heart that my game was better than my results were showing and it was just great to come in this week, prepare, put it up there at a major championship, try my best and compete.”