McDowell targets hat-trick

Graeme McDowell will be hoping to make history when he tees off at the Open de France at Le Golf National on Thursday.

The Northern Irishman is bidding to win the tournament for a third consecutive year and become the first person to do so since Marcel Dallemagne in the 1930’s and the fifth ever player to win a European Tour event three years in a row.

McDowell won the tournament by four shots in 2013, and then came from eight shots behind on the final day to win in 2014. The 35-year-old told Sky Sports that his initial victory will always be his favorite.

“Having a chance to win a tournament three times in a row is very special. I’ve always enjoyed this golf course, right back in the early days when I would come here,” he said.

“The two wins were obviously very different. You always like to win a tournament, as opposed to be given it to a certain extent. So from that point of view, I guess 2013 was a bit more special than 2014.”

McDowell has had a difficult 2015 thus far, recording just one top-10 finish during the first half of the year.

At Wednesday’s pre-tournament press conference, the 2010 US Open Champion told the assembled media that he was feeling more confident than in recent months.

“Really I have to start the ball rolling again and start that momentum gathering. I feel a lot happier where I am mentally now than where I was four or five months ago,” he said.

“You know, I look at the world rankings and I’m very conscious of not panicking. I know I’m good enough and I know that if I keep doing what I’m doing, that things will come back.”

McDowell will be one of seven members of the Europe team that won last year’s Ryder Cup taking part in the French Open.

The stellar field includes Lee Westwood, home favourite Alexander Levy, Thomas Bjorn, Stephen Gallacher, Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson and 2009 winner Martin Kaymer.