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Graeme McDowell sees off Dustin Johnson to win Saudi International


Graeme McDowell has won the Saudi International

Graeme McDowell has won the Saudi International

Getty Images

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