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Graeme McDowell to marry Kristin Stape in intimate Bahamas service

By Maureen Coleman

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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