In a final round that took on the characteristics of a Match Play event, Graeme McDowell prevailed against South African Richard Sterne in The Alstom Open de France at Golf le National near Paris on Sunday afternoon. McDowell trailed by one stroke at the turn, but the experience played out over youth down the stretch as Sterne made some mistakes on the back nine, and Graeme McDowell did not.
The Northern Irishman picked up birdies at the 10th and 17th holes to fire a four under 67 and secure his third win in 2013. He has either been near the top of the leaderboard this season, or missing the cut. This day belonged to McDowell as the remainder of the field fell back and left the tournament to the final group.
This win should give McDowell some much-needed momentum going into the Open Championship in two weeks. He has not fared well in the majors this year after missing the cut at both the Masters, and the US Open. Maybe Muirfield will be better to him.
Richard Sterne put up a valiant effort, but made a couple of crucial mistakes coming down the stretch. The young South African couldn’t manage a birdie on the back nine, but was only two strokes back when he hit an ugly shot from the middle of the fairway at 17, missing the green, and a short par putt. The bogey all but gave the win to McDowell.
Hitting first at 17, McDowell hit a beauty to nine feet, putting just enough pressure on Sterne to force the mistake. Richard Sterne played well for three and a half rounds, but just couldn’t close the deal against the veteran McDowell. He is a fine young talent from the Sunshine Tour, and has played well all year, but hasn’t been able to get that win.
The win at Golf le National on Sunday vaults McDowell into third place in Race To Dubai points, surpassing Matteo Manassero who finished tied for 25th place. McDowell is ranked ninth in the world rankings, and has three wins in 2013. He won The Volvo Match Play Championship back in May, and The RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour.
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