Sport Golf

Thursday 14 December 2017

McDowell shows grit

US OPEN champion Graeme McDowell showed trademark true grit yesterday as he battled back from a nightmare start at The Heritage to post a first round of three-under-par 68.

The Portrush man stumbled to an ugly double-bogey six at Harbour Town's 11th hole, his second. Yet he recovered well, picking up six birdies and just one bogey as he scrambled to within four of the clubhouse lead set by American Garrett Willis with a superb 64.

McDowell outscored playing companions Ian Poulter (69) and Ernie Els (75), who made a quadruple-bogey seven on his penultimate hole, the eighth.

Pre-tournament favourite Luke Donald opened with a tidy 67.

Elsewhere, Danielle McVeigh will defend the Helen Holm Scottish Women's Open Amateur Championship over 54 holes at Troon this weekend.

The competition tees off today, with the first of two rounds being played over Troon Portland and the final round on Sunday over the Open championship links.

Sixteen-year-old Cavan star Leona Maguire -- who won the crown at Troon in 2009 -- is also among the high-quality field, along with her twin sister Lisa.

A strong Irish contingent also includes Gillian O'Leary (Cork), Charlene Reid (Royal Portrush), Emma O'Driscoll (Ballybunion), Victoria Bradshaw (Bangor), Louise Mernagh (Woodenbridge), Aedin Murphy (Carlow), Carla Reynolds (Seapoint) and Maura Diamond (Royal Portrush).

The Heritage,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 8.0pm

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