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.
“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.”
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.
The tournament at Close House, scheduled to start on July 30, is set to be the first European Tour event since the coronavirus crisis halted action.
The world number one believes it would be the ‘right call’ to push the event back to 2021.
The exhibition match, against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, raised 20 million dollars.
The Dutchman finished third and second in the first two weeks of the home-based competition.
NFL stars Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will also be involved.
The US President was among the viewers watching the TaylorMade Driving Relief.
The US President phoned in as McIlroy played in a Sunday fundraiser for coronavirus victims.
Syme donated his prize money to charity.
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The Northern Irishman is ranked number one in the world.