Sport Golf

Thursday 12 December 2019

McDowell aiming to take Dubai race down to wire

Graeme McDowell. Photo: Getty Images
Graeme McDowell. Photo: Getty Images

Karl MacGinty

GRAEME McDOWELL will be pulling out all the stops over the next seven weeks to end the greatest year of his golf career in a blaze of glory.

Crowned US Open champion at Pebble Beach in June, McDowell was then feted as Europe's match-clinching hero at the Ryder Cup, yet the Portrush ace has no desire to rest on his laurels.

Though €995,581 behind Order of Merit leader Martin Kaymer, McDowell will play the five remaining events on the European Tour's 2010 schedule in an all-out effort to win the Race to Dubai and the $1.5m bonus which goes with it.

With prize money totalling €19.5m on offer at those five events, it's certainly possible for McDowell to overhaul Kaymer, even if the German underscored his consistency by completing a rare hat-trick of European Tour wins in the wake of August's victory at the US PGA.

The Portrush man will lock horns with Kaymer at next week's €3m Andalucia Valderrama Masters (worth €500,000 to the winner) and again at the €5m HSBC in Shanghai (worth €830,000 to the winner).

McDowell then will move on to the €4.25m Singapore Open (€666,660 for first), followed by the €1.8m Hong Kong Open (€300,000) and the €5.4m Dubai World Championship (€900,000), the climax to the European season.

From there, McDowell will head for the Chevron World Challenge in California hoping to improve on his second place in 2009, a performance which copper-fastened his place in the world top 50 and setting him up for the season of his life.

"I'm a busy man from here in, I'm playing seven straight," confirmed McDowell, who'll bring his competitive year to a conclusion at December's Shark Shootout in Naples Florida.

Rory McIlroy needs to produce a 36-hole rally to match his spectacular weekend effort at Cog Hill last May if he's to win the Egypt Open in Cairo.

McIlroy lay 10 shots off Lee Slattery's halfway lead at the Mirage City Golf Club on one-over after struggling once again to bed in subtle changes to his swing in yesterday's second-round 74.

Colm Moriarty was nicely placed in his bid to make the 45-man field at next week's Challenge Tour Grand Final as a second-round 70 lifted him into a tie for 18th place on two-under. But Gary Murphy missed the cut on 11-over after yesterday's 77.

Padraig Harrington was confirmed yesterday among the 12-man field for the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa. The Dubliner will be one of five of Europe's Ryder Cup heroes at Sun City on December 2-5, alongside Lee Westwood, Ross Fisher, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Edoardo Molinari.

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