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McDowell tames Monster

Graeme McDowell emphatically stamped 'Mission Accomplished' on his campaign after taming the Blue Monster with a faultless final-round 66.

Ernie Els came out on top at Doral last night in a thrilling all-Springbok battle with Charl Schwartzel for the CA World Championship of Golf, but if the Big Easy was happy with his victory, McDowell was just as happy.

The Ulsterman’s splendid afternoon's work and a top-six finish will earn enough world rankings points to ensure the 30-year-old hangs onto his place in the world's top-50 when the new rankings are unveiled today so McDowell will tee it up in the Arnie Palmer invitational at Bay Hill on Thursday week.

He finished tied second with Vijay Singh in Arnie Palmer's prestigious tournament in 2005 and views the tournament as a significant step in his build-up to the US Masters a fortnight later.

Bad luck denied McDowell the reward his high-quality golf deserved at The Honda Classic but there was no stopping him yesterday as he played with precision from tee to green and, where required, sank a couple of real bombs with his putter.

After opening with a birdie on the par-five first, McDowell fired a spectacular string of five successive birdies through the turn, holing out from all of 39 feet at the ninth and sinking another wonderful effort from 25 feet at 11.

Rory McIlroy will leave the disappointment of Doral behind this morning when he steps onto the hallowed turf at Augusta National for three days' reconnaissance before next month's US Masters.

McIlroy had little reason to look back on the CA Championship with fondness after four thoroughly frustrating rounds left him tied 65th with Steve Marino on seven over, ahead only of Oliver Wilson (+8) and Michael Sim (+12) at the foot of the scoreboard.

After opening with a 76 last Thursday, McIlroy followed up with three successive 73s, registering just seven birdies in 72 holes, reflecting the 20-year-old's imprecision from tee to green.

Padraig Harrington finished third.

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