MAKE IT MCDOWELL

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David John previews this week’s Quinn Direct British Masters and reckons Graeme Mcdowell could be worth a punt.

Graeme McDowell was the Bettingzone’s headline tip for the Quinn Direct British Masters 12 months ago and he gets chance to redeem his missed cut with victory this time around at The Belfry.
It is rather fitting that after three wonderful days of Ryder Cup action at Valhalla, the focus switches to another hallowed venue in Sutton Coldfield – and McDowell looks sure to go close at a very reasonable 20/1.
The Ulsterman made a fantastic impact in Kentucky in Europe’s ultimately losing cause, teaming up with Ian Poulter for a fourball win on day two over Kenny Perry and Jim Furyk, beating Stewart Cink in the singles and claiming a half with Miguel Angel Jimenez against the crack duo of Hunter Mahan and Justin Leonard.
His ball-striking throughout the whole event was superb while his putting under some intense pressure was magnificent – he will surely be immensely proud of his contribution in his rookie appearance.
History has shown that it is no real hinderance to performance for those involved in the Ryder Cup if turning out the following week and you get the impression McDowell will be on very good terms with himself.
As mentioned, he flopped in 2007 but a top-10 finish in 2006 is a much more encouraging piece of form so expect him to be in the shake-up come Sunday evening.
The defending champion is Lee Westwood, who was not in quite such good nick as McDowell on the course at Valhalla but the centre of plenty of attention off it with his comments on rival Boo Weekley and the partisan galleries.
Bookmakers chalk him up at the head of the betting on 12/1 but at the prices, I just think McDowell could take his measure at the respective odds and lift a third trophy of the season.
Currently fourth in the European Order of Merit, Westy plans to turn his attentions to winning that so a strong end to the campaign from him is on the cards nevertheless.
Mansfield’s Greg Owen won this event five years ago when it was staged at the Forest Of Arden and he makes a rare appearance on this side of the Atlantic.
There has already been bits and pieces of support for him ahead of the event but he can still be backed at 50/1 – which should be taken.
Owen came within a whisker of a shock success in the Bay Hill Invitational on the PGA Tour in 2006 but has since been relegated to the Nationwide Tour.
However, he has enjoyed an excellent 2008 with 10 top-10 results from 15 starts and two top three finishes from his last three.
That included rounds of back-to-back 65 to close out the recent Boise Open and he could not be in better nick on his return to England.
Compatriot and Challenge Tour graduate Ross McGowan completes our three against the field and like Owen, arrives in sparkling form.
His last two tournaments in Holland and Switzerland have yielded a T6 and a T7 – both of which could have been even better but for one modest round along the way.
It is all part of the learning curve for him during his first full season on the European Tour and he does not look far away from a victory – it would be no great shock to see him go close to breaking that duck in the West Midlands.
David John

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