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Graeme McDowell wins first PGA Tour event since 2015 to complete European record run

 

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Graeme McDowell shows off the trophy after his first PGA Tour victory since 2015 at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

Graeme McDowell shows off the trophy after his first PGA Tour victory since 2015 at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

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PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Getty Images

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Getty Images

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Getty Images

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland reacts to his putt on the 18th green to win the tournament during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland reacts to his putt on the 18th green to win the tournament during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Getty Images

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland reacts to his putt on the 18th green to win the tournament during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland reacts to his putt on the 18th green to win the tournament during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland lines up a putt on the ninth green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 31: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland lines up a putt on the ninth green during the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 31, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Graeme McDowell won his first PGA Tour event since 2015 at the Corales Championship.

Graeme McDowell won his first PGA Tour event since 2015 at the Corales Championship.

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Graeme McDowell shows off the trophy after his first PGA Tour victory since 2015 at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

Portrush golfer Graeme McDowell has won the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

The 39-year-iold edged out a single shot success to bag a PGA Tour victory for the first time since November 2015, when he won the OHL Classic.

The win brings with it a valuable PGA Tour exemption until August 2021 and also secures history, adding to the recent wins of Francesco Molinari, Rory McIlroy and Paul Casey to make it four European winners in a row for the first time in PGA Tour history - the tour began in 1929.

It does not, however, yield an exemption to the Masters or, crucially, to this summer's Open Championship, for which McDowell is still searching for qualification as the tournament arrives in his home town. It does lift the 2010 US Open champion up 124 places in the world rankings to 133. The world's top 50 golfers on May 26 gain an exemption for the Open.

For players who are not exempt, there are qualification events at the end of June.

 

McDowell carded a three under par final round 69 for a tournament total of -18 to beat Mackenzie Hughes and Chris Stroud by a shot.

He had begun the tournament with a disappointing one over par 73 but ignited his chances of victory with back to back eight under par 64s to lead by one from Stroud going into the final round.

Four birdies in his first seven holes on Sunday put McDowell in good shape but, with Stroud matching his score at that stage, he was soon to be leapfrogged after bogey at the ninth.

Stroud even held a one shot lead on the 17th tee before a crucial two-shot swing put McDowell back in front as his perfect tee shot set up birdie at the 214 yard par three while Stroud suffered a bogey. Even when McDowell dropped a shot at the last, his playing partner also gave one back to leave McDowell as the champion.

The tournament was being competed in by all the golfers who did not qualify for this week's WGC Match Play, which features the world's top 64 golfers.

Belfast Telegraph