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McDowell on brink of Ryder Cup place

By Peter Hutcheon

An incredible eight-under par round of 63 to win the Wales Open has taken a jubilant Graeme McDowell within one place of the automatic Ryder Cup rankings.

The Portrush man is now sitting in tenth place in the European table after his fifth European Tour victory.

At the very least, he has done his chances of picking up a wild card from skipper Colin Montgomerie, who asked players to stand up and be counted at the Twenty Ten course where this year’s match against the Americans will be staged in October.

“I haven’t done my chances any harm because when it comes to making a tough choice, he can look back and see who did well here,” McDowell said last night. “And you can’t do much better than winning.

“I think I have a good chance of getting a wild card because of how I’ve played with Rory McIlroy in team events in the past, but then again anyone can play well with Rory.”

McDowell went out in an incredible six-under for his first nine holes and in all had eight birdies in 11 holes before parring his way home to a three-shot win over local favourite Rhys Davies, who shot a course record 62.

“I couldn't imagine playing the first 11 holes the way I did. It was dream stuff. This is a huge step. I needed a big summer. This is a pretty good feather in the cap if I need a nod from the captain.”

By securing his places at both the US Open at Pebble Beach and the Open at St Andrews next month, McDowell will play all of the big-money events in the lead-up to the Ryder Cup.

He was one of the star European performers in the crushing defeat to the Americans two years ago in Kentucky.

Meanwhile, McIroy further cemented his place on Monty’s team with a top 10 finish at the Memorial, Jack Nicklaus’ tournament in Ohio.

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