Thursday 23 March 2017

McDowell bids to turn up the heat on Race leader Kaymer

Bernie McGuire in Singapore

Graeme McDowell expects a sizzling climax to this season's Race to Dubai and has targeted the $6m Singapore Open as his chance to put the heat on front-runner Martin Kaymer.

McDowell trails his Ryder Cup team-mate by more than $700,000 with three tournaments left on the calendar, but with a $1m jackpot for first place in Singapore, McDowell is within striking distance of top spot.

He made a huge dent in Kaymer's lead by winning the Andalucia Masters in Valderrama at the end of October but both players were out of the running at last week's HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, as world No 1 Lee Westwood made up ground by finishing second.

"This is the week which I've targeted as an important one in trying to catch Martin," McDowell said. "We were pretty close last week but a huge week this week can punch a hole in (Kaymer's lead)."

Meanwhile, another eight Irish players will join McDowell in Singapore and for Shane Lowry and Gary Murphy it will be a case of the 'last chance saloon'.

Lowry is 62nd on the Race to Dubai money list and has added next week's UBS Hong Kong Open to his schedule to sure up his place in the season-ending Dubai World Championship. Murphy's plight is more serious as he's staring a return trip to the Tour's Q-School.

Triple Major champion Padraig Harrington will be heading the Irish contingent in the $6m event. and Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke, Damien McGrane, Peter Lawrie, Gareth Maybin and Michael Hoey will also be present.

McIlroy hitch to quitting US

Rory McIlroy's decision to quit the US Tour may not be as simple as it sounds. After telling US Tour commissioner Tim Finchem of his decision last Sunday, McIlroy said he expected to contest upwards to 11 or 12 events in the US each year.

This would include the three Majors, the three US Tour-based WGCs and five or six other regular Tour events.

But according to the US Tour's Andy Pazder, McIlroy will be limited to 10 appearances per season over the next five years.

However, the head of McIlroy's ISM management, Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler, has said that he's awaiting a letter from Pazder but "doesn't see it as an issue for Rory".

The Singapore Open,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 5.0am

Irish Independent

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