Graeme McDowel has something to smile about once again.
He may have missed out on winning the US Open by one shot this year but Graeme McDowell says the narrow defeat has convinced him he can win a second major title. And by the Portrush man’s side during and after the tense moments on the San Francisco golf green was his girlfriend Kristin Stape.
The American interior designer has until now kept a low profile but publicly supported her boyfriend when he came in second place finishing one shot behind the new US Open winner Webb Simpson.
The brunette, who was also present at the wedding of golfer Darren Clarke and Alison Campbell in April, was pictured kissing G-Mac after completing his rounds on the golf course last week.
And now Mc Dowell said he has “renewed belief” he can win more titles. Speaking afterwards the 32-year-old said he felt a mixture of “disappointment, deflation and pride”.
“I am very proud of how I played overall. The crowd were fantastic, they really kept me going, I'm just disappointed I couldn't do it for them.”
He added that his performance “has reinforced to me that I can compete and win more major championships”.
He will be looking for success at next week’s Irish Open where he will be competing against Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke.
Thousands of miles away, meanwhile, in his hometown of Portrush there were also crowds of people cheering him on and staying up to watch the US Open’s nail-biting final rounds. Among them was Stan Short, administrator at Rathmore Golf Club — McDowell’s local club.
“It was a long but exciting night,” he said. “People were just cheering every putt. There was a belief of ‘oh my gosh, can he do it?’”
Mr Short added: “There was a great atmosphere, the bar had to close but people sat on to watch.”
Portrush native Graeme McDowell won a golf scholarship at the University of Alabama but began his professional career in 2002. His defining year was 2010 when he made history in the US Open by becoming the first Northern Irishman to win the tournament since Fred Daly in 1947, and the first European to win in 40 years. In 2010 he sunk the winning putt for Europe to win on the 17th at Celtic Manor in the Ryder Cup.