Graeme McDowell justified his No. 1 seeding when reigning supreme yesterday at the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Thracian Cliffs, Bulgaria.
The European Tour sanctioned event has enjoyed a rich history since Arnold Palmer won the inaugural event in 1964. The honour roll is very much a who’s who of world golf, and G-Mac will certainly be delighted in seeing his name in such illustrious company.
Since winning the 2010 US Open, that is something the Northern Irishman should now be getting used to.
From 1964 to 2008, the event was staged at Wentworth, and some say it has lost some of its prestige since the decision was taken to stage it at other venues around Europe. However, McDowell would never miss an opportunity to throw himself into the heat of match play battle. The stunning backdrop of Thracian Cliffs, described by McDowell as “Pebble Beach on steroids”, was matched with clear blue skies and sparkling golf.
McDowell, last year’s runner up, played superbly throughout, eventually seeing off Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee in yesterday’s final.
Victory here was enough to elevate McDowell one place to seventh in the latest World Golf Ranking, and fired a warning shot to his rivals with the US Open at Merion looming large. McDowell is in a very good place right now in all aspects of his life. His new business venture Nona Blue tavern in Orlando is up and running, and he’ll wed girlfriend Kristin Stape in September. He will certainly be close to the top of my list when looking for serious contenders for this season’s second major.
Elsewhere in Europe, former US Amateur champion Peter Uihlein was victorious at the Madeira Islands Open. Four birdies on the back nine helped Uihlein to his first professional victory since turning pro in December 2011.