McDowell banks RBC Heritage victory
Graeme McDowell has banked his first regular PGA Tour victory with a play-off success in the RBC Heritage Classic at Hilton Head in South Carolina.
McDowell and fellow US Open champion, Webb Simpson ended regulation play tied at nine under par and with the Northern Irishman winning with a par at the first extra hole – the par four, 18th.
Graeme McDowell (Credit: kenneth e.dennis/kendennisphoto.com)
McDowell had two-putted from the front of the green for par and was virtually headed back to the tee when there was a collective gasp of disbelief from the crowd when Simpson missed a six-footer for his par.
The win is also McDowell’s 10th pro career success and a first since capturing his second Chevron World Challenge late last year.
The world number 18 ranked McDowell, playing in the event sponsored by his own sponsor RBC, posted a final round 69 but let slip victory when he made a mess of the last in taking bogey in a round of 69 and with Webb, currently ranked No. 20, two putting from 20-feet for par in his score of 71.
McDowell earned a first prize cheque of $1.026m and a week after the disappointment of missing the halfway cut in the Masters.
The three-time Ryder Cup star, who now has a play-off record of three wins and one loss worldwide, looked headed for a play-off but then Webb missed his par putt from short distance to hand McDowell the title.
“It’s great to win but I feel really sorry for Webb as a gust of wind came up and stopped his par putt from dropping, but I guess those are the things that happen in golf,” said McDowell.
“But in saying that, this is my first normal tournament win here on the PGA Tour and I’m really delighted.”
McDowell arrived at Hilton Head with a poor track record without a finish inside the top 60 in three visits in 2005, ’06 and ’11.
However he’s made a mockery of that statistic with victory over his fellow US Open winner.
“This is a golf course which I’ve always enjoyed,” said McDowell, who is one of RBC’s sponsored players.
“I didn’t play here last year and kind of regretted it, so here we are this year. It is a golf course that sets up well for me.”
“You don’t have to move it very far off the tee, but you have to position it really well. And you have to play patient golf, which suits my type of play. I’m reasonably straight and a good iron player.”
It is also McDowell’s second success since announcing his engagement late last year while he is the first Irish-born player to win anywhere in the world in 2013.
And after US-born players captured the opening 14 tournaments on the 2013 PGA Tour schedule, international players have now won the past three with Scotland’s Martin Laird captured the Valero Texas Open and Australia’s Adam Scott was fitted last Sunday with the Augusta National green jacket.
Stuart Appleby made a welcome return to form this week, however his great run came to an end with a final round 77 to finish T35.
Marc Leishman maintained his superb Masters form with a T9 leaving him at 3-under and six strokes off the pace. Jason Day was a further three shots back at even par T30 alongside side fellow Aussie, Matt Jones.
Aaron Baddeley (T42) and Cameron Percy (T55) rounded out the Australian attack to make it through to the weekend.