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HE'S MAC IN THE RACE

After winning one tournament synonymous with Wentworth, Graeme McDowell today turned his attention to improving his record in the event still held at the European Tour's headquarters.

McDowell claimed his second victory in three tournaments yesterday, winning the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Thracian Cliffs in Bulgaria to add to his RBC Heritage win last month.

The top seed beat Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee 2&1 in a hard-fought final, taking the lead for the first time on the 14th and then making a birdie on the next as he became the first Irish winner of a tournament dating back to 1964.

McDowell believes the gamble of taking the 24-man event to Bulgaria paid off despite admitting the field needs to be stronger and that the spectacular course on the edge of the Black Sea has one or two "funky" holes.

And the former US Open champion will now be hoping to maintain his superb form at the BMW PGA Championship which gets under way at Wentworth on Thursday, an event in which he has missed the cut for the last two years and has just one top-15 finish in 10 attempts.

"We have been talking all week about how prestigious this event is. I can't say how excited I am to win it and add my name to that list of legends," McDowell said of his Match Play triumph, with the winner's cheque of €800,000 taking him top of the Race to Dubai.

"It was not quite the salubrious golf of this morning (when he was eight under in beating Branden Grace 3&2 in the semi-final). It was a little more tentative, there was a lot on the line.

"I played strongly coming in and I sensed Thongchai was a little fatigued. I really tried to feed off that."

Jaidee had the consolation of €400,000 as runner-up, but could be forgiven for wondering how he failed to turn an early advantage into a decisive lead.

Meanwhile Pádraig Harrington has withdrawn from Wentworth. After last week's Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas, Harrington decided over the weekend to skip the European Tour's €4.75m showpiece.

"Pádraig withdrew because, having played three weeks in a row, he felt a week off was better for his game than a fourth consecutive event," his agent Adrian Mitchell said.

The Dubliner finished just inside the top 50 on one-over in the Byron Nelson at TPC Four Seasons Resort after a level-par 70 in the final round.

Since missing the cut at last month's US Masters, the 41-year-old has struggled to find top form, so a week on the West Course at Wentworth, one of his least successful venues in the past, was unlikely to do him any favours.

Though he had a couple of top-10 finishes at the BMW PGA in 2009 and 2010, Harrington missed the cut last year.


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