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Sunday, 06 June 2010
Graeme McDowell  (Getty Images)
Graeme McDowell (Getty Images)

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Graeme McDowell produced a simply brilliant victory in The Celtic Manor Wales Open after an exhilarating final round.

Playing on The Twenty Ten Course where he hopes to earn his second Ryder Cup cap against the Americans in October, the 30 year old Northern Irishman was forced to pull out all the stops to grab his fifth European Tour title.

In-form Welshman Rhys Davies was the man to put the heat on with a stunning course record 62 that saw him cover the middle 12 holes in ten under par.

But McDowell matched the 25 year old's front nine 30, started for home with two more birdies and, with a three stroke lead once Davies had bogeyed the difficult 16th, did not let the opportunity slip.

A closing 63 for a 15 under par total of 269 gave McDowell, winless since the 2008 Barclays Scottish Open, the €350,940 first prize by three and left Davies a runner-up for the second week running.

"I think it's the best final round I've ever played to win a tournament," he said. "The first 11 holes was dream golf and I am ecstatic. I feel like I'm in the form of my life right now and I really feel I have a big event in me.

"To win around here is certainly going to stand me in good stead," he added.

Four behind at the start of the day McDowell could not have expected to become the man to catch so quickly, but overnight leader Marcel Siem put two balls in the water and ran up a quadruple bogey seven at the short third.

Davies, eight adrift when he teed off, knew he was in with a chance from the moment he sank his 170 yard eight iron for an eagle two on the eighth.

His fourth birdie came on the next, then he produced two more at the start of the inward half and when he drove the green at the 377 yard dog-leg 15th - what a hole that is going to be come October - and made his 30 foot putt for another eagle two The European Tour's first ever 59 was still a possibility.

The European Tour rookie required two more birdies for that, but instead he failed to get up and down from sand on the next and had to settle for two closing pars.

His round nevertheless shaved a stroke off the course record set by Stephen Gallacher in the third round and matched by his fellow Scot Marc Warren early on the final day.

McDowell's 64-63 finish - he feared he was going to miss the cut on Friday - was only three outside the best ever on The European Tour.

Davies stated: "I enjoyed every second. I went out very relaxed - I tried to push too hard yesterday and was mindful of that."

He admitted he thought of 59 at one point, but "put it aside very quickly”.

He added: "I tracked what Graeme was doing. He continued to make birdies, so I kept my head down and tried to make some more. I tried my best, but it didn't quite happen."

Third place went to Luke Donald, the man who pipped Davies in last week's Madrid Masters. His three-week trip back to Europe has brought him a win, a second and a third and he is even closer now to regaining his Ryder Cup spot.

Gallacher shared fourth with England's Robert Rock and Italian Edoardo Molinari, but Siem fell back to seventh with a 74.

 

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MCDOWELL, GraemeNIR18-15
2DAVIES, RhysWAL18-12
3DONALD, LukeENG18-10
T4ROCK, RobertENG18-9
T4MOLINARI, EdoardoITA18-9
T4GALLACHER, StephenSCO18-9
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