Sport Golf

Monday 9 December 2019

McDowell in Memphis spotlight with Johnson

Graeme McDowell Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Graeme McDowell Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Liam Kelly

Graeme McDowell plays in one of the featured groups in the FedEx St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis today.

McDowell and fellow former US Open champion Retief Goosen face an interesting first two days in the company of big-hitting Dustin Johnson, one of the pre-tournament favourites.

Johnson's booming drives will outgun McDowell and Goosen, but the Northern Irishman and the South African are hardened professionals, and will have to keep the focus on their own game.

Unlike Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, who opted out of this tournament to prepare for the US Open at Oakmont, McDowell prefers competitive play ahead of the season's second Major championship.

Pádraig Harrington, who missed out on qualifying for the Open, is also in Memphis.

Harrington needs to spark some life into his game following missed cuts in his last three events - the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players Championship in the US, and the Irish Open at The K Club.

European Tour action takes place in the Lyonness Open in Austria where Paul Dunne, Michael Hoey and Peter Lawrie tee it up today.


Dunne, playing his first year as a Tour pro, has garnered €106,625 from ten events, placing him 114th in the Race To Dubai standings.

Hoey finds himself under unwelcome pressure, but hopes to see an upturn in his fortunes.

Prior to last weekend at the Nordea Masters in Sweden, Hoey had endured a miserable streak of 11 missed cuts in a row.

Peter Lawrie, who does not have full playing rights, plays only his seventh Tour event of the season which makes it difficult to get a run of form to rise from his present 192nd ranking.

Meanwhile, the GB & Ireland team and their USA counterparts are making final preparations for the Curtis Cup match which starts tomorrow at Dun Laoghaire GC in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

Leona Maguire, Olivia Mehaffey and Maria Dunne are the Irish players on the GB&I team of eight which seeks to win back the trophy from the Americans.

Maguire, 21, was on the 2012 GB&I team which won at Nairn in Scotland.

The Duke University golfer recalled: "We were trailing the US team for most of the week in 2012.

"We just kept fighting and the odds turned in our favour just when we needed them to."

Lyonness Open, Live, Sky Sports 4, 10.00am

FedEx St Jude Classic, Live, Sky Sports 4, 8.30pm

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