Graeme McDowell was a relieved and elated man after ending a four-year title drought with a one-stroke victory at the PGA Tour’s Puntacana Resort Championship on Sunday.
The Northern Irishman, one year short of 40, was ranked just 257th when he arrived in the Dominican Republic last week.
But a three-under-par 69 in the final round saw him finish with a 19-under total of 270 and complete a one-stroke win over American Chris Stroud and Canadian Mackenzie Hughes.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 1, 2019
“This is big,” said a clearly emotional McDowell.
“This is big for the people who stood by me the last few years. It has been a rough few years. It has been a grind. My whole family, my wife and kids at home.”
McDowell had a brilliant birdie at the par-3 17th to thank for his victory, after a six-iron off the tee finished up just five feet from the flag.
“Standing on 16 green I said to myself ‘You’ve got to do something that’s tournament-winning,'” McDowell said.
“And that shot to 17 was tournament-winning level.
“I’m really happy I got this done.”
"This is a very sweet victory."
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 31, 2019
The biggest moment of McDowell’s career came at Pebble Beach in 2010 when he won the US Open, and while he is still exempt for this year’s US Open as a result of that win, McDowell would also dearly love to play in this year’s Open Championship at his beloved Royal Portrush.
His victory on Sunday has seen him take a big step towards realising that dream.
Rory McIlroy admits he made a meal of the 14th hole at Pebble Beach on Friday, but a superb fightback saw him stay in the hunt.
Justin Rose has his short game to thank for his position at the US Open, but his ball-striking is starting to come to the party too.
Gary Woodland has never won a major but has an excellent chance of changing that after his record-equalling 65 at Pebble Beach on Friday.
Rory McIlroy looks set to end a run of three missed cuts in the US Open after opening with a rock-solid 68 at Pebble Beach on Thursday.
Brooks Koepka’s chances of a historic third straight US Open title are still alive after he ended the first round just four shots back.
Tiger Woods was happy to salvage a one-under-par 70 in tricky conditions on the opening day of the US Open at Pebble Beach.
Justin Rose equalled the lowest US Open round ever shot at Pebble Beach, a six-under 65, to take a one-shot lead after the opening round.