Austrian Open: Slick Graeme McDowell in swing again
Mission accomplished! That was the verdict of US Open Champion Graeme McDowell yesterday after a closing 69, his fourth successive round in the 60s on the Diamond Course, clinched him a share of third place at the Austrian Open in Vienna.
“I came here to put my game under pressure and to compete at the weekend and I have achieved that,” explained McDowell, who finished in a tie with Sweden’s Alex Noren and England's Danny Willett on 14 under.
That was three strokes shy of the playoff, in which Spain's Jose Manuel Lara beat David Lynn with a par four on the first hole of sudden death, the difficult 18th, to seal the fairytale victory which has rescued his career on the European Tour.
Though McDowell conceded his iron play “was a little loose”, he was delighted to be able to shake off the ring rust so quickly after a four-week break and head for next week's Ryder Cup with his game in such good order.
The Portrush man got himself within striking distance of the leaders when he birdied three of his first four holes on the back nine yesterday.
Yet, McDowell's bid for his third victory in three months effectively expired when he was caught between clubs on with his approach into the breeze at 16 and then three-putted from the front fringe for bogey.
Damien McGrane certainly bounced back brilliantly from Friday's 76 to put in a great weekend's work, following up Saturday's 67 with a fabulous closing 65.
Yet the round of the day was the superlative 64, including 10 birdies, posted by Lara, whose second Tour victory assures him of his card for 2011.
The man from Valencia had been in grave danger of losing his playing credentials after a disastrous run of nine missed cuts in recent months.
And he still lay 130th in the money list despite his confidence-boosting fourth-place finish at The Dutch Open two weeks ago.
A closing 68 earned Simon Thornton a share of 26th on six-under while Gary Murphy slumped to 64th with his final round 75.