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McDowell has home comforts


Graeme McDowell. Pic: AP

Graeme McDowell. Pic: AP

Graeme McDowell. Pic: AP

Graeme McDowell hopes the ultimate in home comforts can help him find the missing piece of the jigsaw in the £5.4million Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart.

McDowell was born just a few miles away in Portrush and is staying in his parents' home this week, a house he bought for them after winning his first European Tour title in 2002.

The former US Open champion is one of the few players in the star-studded field to have any significant experience of Portstewart, with the front nine of the course being designed by one of his former maths teachers.

And the 37-year-old is praying that adds up to at least the first top-10 finish of a disappointing campaign, which would give him a chance of securing one of the three places available in the Open at Royal Birkdale.

"Portstewart is a golf course that I played a lot as a kid," said the world number 100, who has not been outside the 100 since January 2008.

"We used to play a lot of our school's matches here and I think one of my maths teachers actually designed the front nine about 30 years ago.

"I've got a lot of good memories here and it's just great to be back on the north coast and showcasing what we have up in this part of the world.

"The golf course is in great shape and my game feels right there. I'd dearly love to compete here this weekend and give it a rip on Sunday afternoon."

He added: "I just really haven't had those big finishes (this year) which are the catalyst to more confidence and more belief."