Wrap up: G-Mac Flawless in France
Graeme McDowell shot a closing 67 to post a nine-under-par 72-hole total and win the Alstom Open de France by four shots from South Africa’s Richard Sterne at Le Golf National in Paris.
It has been a strange season for McDowell, a man who’s notched three victories but been far more inconsistent that normal.
Indeed, the 33-year-old has missed more cuts already this season than he did during the whole of 2012, but he failed to record an official victory last year.
He started the Open de France with a solid two-under-par 69 and matched that score in round two, heading into the weekend in a four-strong tie for fifth on four-under-par.
The golf course was playing tough all week and scores were again high on Saturday, with five under leading the way after 54-holes.
It was McDowell and Sterne at the helm with one round remaining, but 13 players were within three shots of the lead.
McDowell started with a birdie but trailed playing partner Sterne by one shot after the South African reached the turn in three-under 33.
Sterne wobbled, though, and bogeys at 12 and 16, coupled with a McDowell birdie at 10, saw him fall two behind with two the play.
McDowell made the most of a fortuitous ricochet on 17 and went on the card a brilliant birdie whilst Sterne dropped yet another shot.
Both players parred the 72nd hole, leaving G-Mac – who had missed five of his last six strokeplay cuts – to wallow in the glory of yet another victory.
G-Mac doesn’t have the most aesthetically pleasing golf swing, but one thing that has never been in doubt is his mental strength and supreme ability on and around the greens. That is why he’ll continue to win golf tournament and probably claim another major championship. He came into the tournament in poor form and struggling with his swing, but those issues soon disappeared when he found himself in the heat of contention - the mark of a great player and a great champion.
It was great to see Matt Kuchar make the trip across the Atlantic and take part last week. Bubba did the same thing last year, Jason Dufner competes in the start-of-season desert swing and Dustin Johnson played at the BMW International Open two weeks ago. It is encouraging to see top Americans participating in European Tour events and it’s good for three reasons: 1) raising the profile of our tour in the States 2) the snowball effect and 3) sponsors making additional efforts to make their tournaments/players stand out.
All the players were full of praise for Le Golf National, and rightfully so. It’s a beautiful, exciting and challenging golf course with a whole host of great vantage points. I, for one, think it’ll make a fantastic Ryder Cup host venue when the world’s best players come to town in 2018. Credit to everyone involved in bringing golf’s biggest tournament to such a fitting course.
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