McDowell sinks 30-foot putt to secure Open tee-time
Graeme McDowell sensationally booked himself a Royal Portrush a tee-time into next month’s Open Championship holing a remarkable 30-footer for a 72nd hole saving par at the Canadian Open in Hamilton.
McDowell now joins fellow Irish Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Shane Lowry on a Portrush course he knows like the back of his hand having been born and raised in the seaside town.
Graeme McDowell (Credit: R&A)
G Mac went into the final round needing to be inside the top-10 and also among the top-three not otherwise exempt into the 148th Open Championship.
He was just one shot outside of achieving that goal heading into the last day, and while McDowell had dropped as low as 12th place, the 39-year-old breathed life into his Open Championship quest with birdies at 12 and 13.
McDowell then parred his next four holes but looked to have made mess on the last when his second shot was short and right of the green.
He was staring at a 22-yard chip that flew the flag and stopped some 30-feet shy of the flag from where McDowell brought the house down in holing the par putt to muscle his way to an eventual share of 8th place.
Fortunately for McDowell there was just two players, himself and Canadian Adam Hadwin, who were not exempt with the latter delighting local fans in posting a closing 70 to share sixth place at McDowell two shots back on 10-under par.
“It’s a bit of a relief really as it’s been a long journey since Bay Hill which was the first time this year I have played for spots into the Open Championship,” he said.
“It has also been an interesting debate on social media with a lot of people out there who certainly did not feel I should get any special exemption or any special love from the R&A.”
“Once I realised that was not going to be something that was an option, it was a case of getting my head down and playing some golf.”
“So, I knew coming into this run of the RBC Canadian Open and this coming week’s US Open along with the Irish Open and Scottish Open’s that there would be spots up for grabs every week.”
“But I have to be honest as it’s really nice to get the job done in this first week as I can now go and enjoy my golf for the few weeks and get ready for what is going to be a very special week of the Open Championship in my home town of Portrush.”
“I am now very, very ecstatic to be in the field.”
It will be McDowell’s 14th Open appearance and his first in three years. The 39-year-old’s best finish came with a 5th place in 2012 at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.