US Open: McDowell upbeat

Graeme McDowell will go into this week’s US Open in high spirits following his best finish of the season on Sunday.

Graeme McDowell will go into this week’s US Open in high spirits following his best finish of the season on Sunday.
The Northern Irishman shot a seven-under-par 63 in the final round of the St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind, the lowest score of the day in Memphis, to claim a tie for seventh place at 11 under par, seven shots back on tournament winner Brian Gay.
Following a bogey-free round featuring an eagle and five birdies, McDowell will arrive at Bethpage State Park on New York’s Long Island with morale sky high as he prepares for the notoriously challenging Black course.
“It’s always good to have a confidence booster ahead of next week,” McDowell said. “I’ve been playing well for a while. It’s nice to get the numbers.
“It’s my best finish of the season which is key, you know, you like to get some rewards for how you’re playing and nice to post 63 on the weekend.
“Momentum’s everything in this game, we know that and 63 today will do nothing but boost my confidence.”
McDowell was also buoyed by a return to form off the tee.
“I drove the golf ball better today and that’s what I haven’t been doing,” he said. “I’ve been driving the golf ball awful and that was one of the strengths of my game.
“I put it in play more often today and I reaped the benefits. My iron play has been really quality lately and I’m giving myself more chances.”
Those qualities will be vital keys to success at Bethpage and the Ryder Cup player said he knows exactly what is required at the public golf course, 32 miles east of Manhattan.
“I heard it’s going to be long, tough and you’ve got to be driving the golf ball really well,” he said.
“I’m not one of the longer hitters but I’m also not one of the shorter ones, kind of in the middle of the pack, so I’m going to have to drive the ball extremely well, get comfortable with my three- and four-hybrids, maybe and wear the grooves off those things, chip and putt the hell out of it.”
McDowell is also looking forward to sampling the galleries of New York fans, who embraced the US Open on its first visit to Bethpage seven years ago.
“(Phil) Mickelson and with Tiger (Woods) playing so well, I think the atmosphere is going to be ridiculously good outside.
“Hope the weather is kind to us. I’ll be happy to play well and make a bit of the run for the weekend, hopefully.”