US Open Champion Graeme McDowell  (Getty Images)
US Open Champion Graeme McDowell (Getty Images)

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Graeme McDowell will head to The 150th Anniversary Open Championship as The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month after a spectacular month of June that saw him become the first European to win the US Open for 40 years just two weeks after capturing the Celtic Manor Wales Open.

McDowell began the month by winning in Wales, closing with superb rounds of 64 and 63 over the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor, where he will make his second Ryder Cup appearance in October. Then after a week’s break, he won again, this time on the world’s biggest stage, shooting rounds of 71-68-71-74 to be the only player in the US Open field to match par.

His victory placed him alongside golfing greats Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite and Tiger Woods as a winner of the US Open over the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

Holding off the challenges of Grégory Havret, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Woods, McDowell became only the second Northern Irishman to win a Major Championship following Fred Daly’s Open Championship success in 1947. He was also the first European since Tony Jacklin in 1970 to win golf’s second oldest Major title.

McDowell said: “I think it’s fair to say that June was the greatest month of my career so far. The win in Wales was special because I played so well over The Ryder Cup Course but then to win the US Open two weeks later was the fulfilment of everything that I have put into the game for most of my life. To be awarded The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month Award is a nice way to end what had been an amazing month in my life.

“But just because I've achieved one of my big dreams, it doesn’t mean that I am going to change. I certainly feel like I can deal with it well and move on and hopefully keep playing as well as I've been playing.  I feel like I'm coming into my prime playing some of the best golf of my career and I just have to keep doing that.

“I have said all along that there are many people who have helped me achieve success. Obviously my parents are top of that list but all the team at Horizon Sports Management have been fantastic to me as have all the coaches I have worked with over the years who have helped me get to where I am today. Finally, I must thank my caddie Ken Comboy who was different class on that final day at Pebble Beach. They are all owed an immense debt of gratitude and I would like to think this award is for them all too.”

Norman Dabell of BBC Radio Northern Ireland and Reuters said: “As the first European to win the US Open in 40 years it was virtually a foregone conclusion that Graeme would take the honours this month after his thrilling success at Pebble Beach, and the fact he also won in Wales further underlined his success. It was a truly historic achievement and a wonderful shot in the arm for Irish golf.”

Whilst McDowell was the unanimous winner of the award, the panel of golfing media also commended the performance of US Open runner-up Havret, who finished just one shot shy of McDowell. Also recognised were Thomas Björn, who won his tenth European Tour title at the Estoril Open de Portugal, and Martin Wiegele, who followed victory in his home country of Austria on the Challenge Tour with a maiden European Tour success in the SAINT OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC.

McDowell joins fellow Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (April), South Africans Charl Schwartzel  (January) and Ernie Els (March),  and the English pair of Ian Poulter (February) and Luke Donald (May), as candidates for The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Year on The European Tour, which will be decided at the end of the season.

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