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Graeme McDowell wants another Open victory in 2011

By Steven Beacom

After the heroics of 2010, Graeme McDowell says he is once again going to “dream big” in 2011.

The Portrush man is shrewd enough to know that the world will be watching him this year waiting to see if he can replicate the sensational form that took him to US Open glory and become a Ryder Cup legend.

Playing with new Srixon irons, he started the season in fine style, finishing with a course record-equalling final round of 62 in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Sunday.

There will be bigger tests to come as he plays on the PGA Tour in America and sets his sights on more major championships.

Well aware that the pressure is on him more than at any time in his career, you get the feeling this laid back character will take it all in his stride.

“It was an incredible season last time in which a lot of my dreams came true, and now I'm hoping to try and build on that,” says G-Mac.

“I guess a big thing for me will be to manage my own expectations. It's difficult to imagine that in 2011 I could go and surpass what I achieved in 2010 but I'll give it a go.

“I'll certainly continue to work hard, practice hard and dream big.”

Others will be doing exactly the same in a bid to compete with McDowell's magic, including compatriot Rory McIlroy (pictured).

“Rory is a phenomenal talent and I know he will be doing all he can to have a big year,” says his Ryder Cup partner.

“There are other really good young talented golfers to look out for in 2011, for instance guys like Matteo Mannassero (Italy) and Ricky Fowler (USA).

“And I've no doubt that Tiger Woods will be back. He is going to come on strong and that's why I was so pleased to play with him in the final round of his own tournament (Chevron World Challenge) late last year. For me to come from behind down the stretch and beat him was good for my confidence.

“It was good practice, too, because hopefully in the months to come I'll be playing the final round with him a few times this year with both of us in contention for tournament wins.”

Talking about tournament wins, I asked Graeme if he could have just one victory in 2011, which one would it be?

His answer: “I would take the British Open, that would do me. That would be a nice one to win.”

Maybe the Claret jug inscriber should start practicing the name Graeme McDowell right now.

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