Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Graeme McDowell to marry Kristin Stape in intimate Bahamas service

Kristin Stape and Graeme McDowell at the 2012 Ryder Cup gala diner
Kristin Stape and Graeme McDowell at the 2012 Ryder Cup gala diner
Graeme McDowell poses with his fiance, Kristin Stape, during the Par 3 Contest prior to the start of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club
39th Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony...MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Graeme McDowell of Europe poses with his girlfriend Kristin Stape after the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)...S
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Kristin Stape and Kate Rose look on during the Afternoon Four-Ball Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 28, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Pernilla Bjorn and Kristin Stape watch the play during the Morning Foursome Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 28, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: Kristin Stape (L) and Kate Rose attend the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 27: L-R: Marian Lawrie, Katie Poulter, Laurae Westwood, Alison Clarke, Graeme McDowell's partner Kristin Stape during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Graeme McDowell of Europe and his partner Kristin Stape attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Graeme McDowell is greeted by his girlfriend Kristin Stape on the 18th hole on the final day of the Irish Open at Portrush
The final day of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape
Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape shares a joke with a policeman
Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Day two - Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape
Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Day two - Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape with Hollywood actor Bill Murray
Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Day two - Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape with Hollywood actor Bill Murray
Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Day two - Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape with Hollywood actor Bill Murray
Graeme McDowell with girlfriend Kristin Stape
Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Day two - Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape with Hollywood actor Bill Murray
The 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club - day two. Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape
The 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club - Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape
The 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club - Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape
Supporting role: Graeme McDowell's girlfriend Kristin Stape watching the US Open

She's the stunner who caught the eye of a champion golfer.

American beauty Kristin Stape will today wed Northern Irish golf star Graeme McDowell in an intimate ceremony in the Bahamas.

Close friends and family will attend the low-key wedding on the sunshine island, which will be followed, at a later date, by celebrations in his native Portrush.

So, who is the stunner who caught the eye of the former US Open champ, prompting him to joke earlier this year that he had "overachieved" when she agreed to become his wife?

According to sources, McDowell had designs on the 33-year-old brunette from the moment he hired her company to work on his palatial Lake Nona home almost three years ago.

An interior designer by trade, Stape met with the Ryder Cup star to consult on the plans for his home and he was instantly smitten.

The pair began dating and McDowell brought her to Portrush, where she was given the seal of approval by his parents Kenny and Marian. Stape, who has a child from a previous relationship, was back in McDowell's beloved home town again last summer for the Irish Open.

Accompanied by Kenny at Royal Portrush, she told the Belfast Telegraph she loved Northern Ireland.

"I've been over before when the weather was amazing," she said.

"Graeme took me to see the Giant's Causeway and the rope bridge. Northern Ireland is a magical place."

Tanned, slim and glamorous, Stape is considered one of golf's most attractive WAGs.

But those who have met her say she is also very grounded and friendly.

McDowell's friend from Portrush, Radio Ulster presenter Alan Simpson, said: "Kristin is a lovely girl and Graeme's parents adore her."

McDowell proposed to Stape last October, using the 200m high helipad at the seven-star Burg Al Arab hotel in Dubai to pop the question.

He later revealed: "I did it properly, getting down on one knee.

"She had no idea what was going on and was shocked and stunned. I even found myself getting a little bit emotional."

Yesterday, McDowell took to Twitter to joke with Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody about performing at the wedding ceremony.

He wrote: "Getting married on Saturday @garysnowpatrol. Any chances of swinging by and banging out a few tunes? #justsayyes."

Lightbody responded with his congratulations and asked if they were marrying in LA. McDowell said: "Bahamas, can you make it?", before adding: "Obviously messing with @garysnowpatrol on my last-minute request for my wedding. Booked that lad from Hangover months ago."

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