It’s been an up-and-down season for Graeme McDowell, but Sunday’s French Open finale was all “up” for the Northern Irishman.
McDowell found himself locked in a battle with South African pro Richard Sterne through the front nine at Paris’ Le Golf National, a venue which will also play host to the Ryder Cup in 2018. However, as Sterne faded on the back nine, McDowell picked up steam and shot his lowest round of the tournament, a four-under 67. McDowell ended up with a comfortable four-stroke victory, his second on the European Tour and third overall in 2013.
What’s remarkable about this win isn’t so much that McDowell won, as he was clearly one of the best players in the field. However, he came into the event having missed the cut at five of his last six stroke-play tournaments, including the Masters, the U.S. Open and last week’s Irish Open. The only other made cut? His victory at Harbour Town in the RBC Heritage.
It certainly seems as though McDowell is coming back into form at the right time. He doesn’t play every single week, which likely prolongs some of the downswings that any golfer is bound to experience. He’s even acknowledged that the poor outings have been on his mind. “It’s been a funny year because my game hasn’t felt far away most weeks,” McDowell said in post-round interviews. “But I’ve missed a lot of cuts and missing cuts hurts. That has certainly motivated me a lot these last few weeks.”
With The Open Championship set to begin in just over a week at Muirfield, this victory should certainly give McDowell the momentum he’s looking for. The year’s third major championship is always a tough one to call, but with how close he came last year, you know this will be a great building point for McDowell.