Graeme McDowell bags €525,000 after beating world's best
Graeme McDowell rediscovered his fighting spirit of old in 2019 and proved he could mix it with the best.
On Sunday, at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in Saudi Arabia, he beat the very best and is heading home with a hug winners' cheque.
Last May, McDowell won the Corales championship to break a trophy-less streak of almost three and a half years. The 40-year-old then closed out the year with a string of Top 10 finishes and set his sights on a true return to form in 2020.
The 2010 US Open winner started off at the Saudi International ranked 104 in the world and boldly stated that he wanted to be safely ensconced in the Top 50 by the end of the year. After today's victory, he is well on his way.
The Portrush native began his final round on -12, one clear of France's Victor Dubuisson, after his putter went scalding hot on Saturday:
Graeme McDowell is two clear going down the straight at the Saudi International
Here's how he was putting on Saturday... 🔥pic.twitter.com/rP7bGwkpEC
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) February 2, 2020
Leading a star-studded field, which included the likes of Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and World No.1 Brooks Koepka, the Northern Irishman was steady on Sunday and recorded two birdies down the final straight to record an even-par 70.
Dubuisson and Gavin Green, his closest overnight challengers, never got going. World No.5 Johnson rounded out his tournament with a 67 to finish -10 but McDowell had two strokes to spare.
It was his 16th career victory and the winners' cheque of €525,793 means it is also one of his most lucrative. McDowell's win ended five and a half years on the wilderness in the European Tour and will boost his hopes of representing Team Europe again in this year's Ryder Cup. Following his win, Graeme McDowell remarked:
"It's special. I've been working hard this last year and a half and I've said, you know, I want to be back up there one time, just to be out there playing against these guys. The game of golf is in such great shape and there's so many top players out there in the world. I want to be back up there
"I've got young kids at home and I want them to see me out there. I want to show them that dad's tough and dad can do it. I don't want to have to pull up YouTube videos."
McDowell is projected to rise to third in the European Tour's 'Race to Dubai' rankings and he should shoot up at least 25 places in the world rankings. Elsewhere in the field, Shane Lowry shot a final round of 69 to finish tied for 13th with Martin Kaymer and two others.