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Graeme McDowell sees off Dustin Johnson to win Saudi International

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Graeme McDowell has won the Saudi International

Graeme McDowell has won the Saudi International

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Graeme McDowell has won the Saudi International

Graeme McDowell put himself firmly in the frame for a Ryder Cup return after a battling victory in the Saudi International.

McDowell began the final round with a one-shot lead and a closing level-par 70 in tough scoring conditions at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club was enough to seal a first European Tour title since 2014.

The victory is set to lift McDowell from 104th in the world rankings to back inside the top 50, less than a year after the 2010 US Open champion found himself a lowly 257th.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson made his second eagle of the day on the 18th to finish two shots behind McDowell, with Phil Mickelson, Thomas Pieters and Gavin Green a stroke further back.

McDowell told Sky Sports: "A big goal this year was to be back in the top 50, it's come a little faster than I expected.

"I'm just so excited about the year. I was hoping I was going to have a big season; fourth in Hawaii got me off and running and then a missed cut in Dubai last week, but I knew I played well.

"It's tough to win on a course that doesn't fit your eye but this is a sweet one. If my kids are watching at home I love you guys - and my wife obviously. I can't wait to get home and see them."

PA Media