Tuesday 25 June 2019

WATCH: Graeme McDowell qualifies for The Open Championship in sensational fashion with monster putt

Graeme McDowell during the final round of the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Graeme McDowell during the final round of the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Greame McDowell drained a 30-yard putt on the final hole at the Canadian Open to secure his place at The Open Championship on his home course of Portrush.

While Rory McIlroy was a convincing winner of the PGA Tour event in Hamilton, McDowell's achievement of clinching his spot in his home major championship ensured it was a great day for Irish golfers in Canada.

McDowell needed a top-ten finish to have a chance of securing one of the places up for grabs for the The Open and after he missed the fairway on the 18th hole, he was presented with a long-range putt to book his spot at Portrush and he did it in some style.

"It's been an interesting debate on social media, there are a lot of people out there who certainly don't think that I deserve to get special exemptions from the R&A and once I realised that was probably not going to be an option it was a case of getting my head down and playing some golf," said McDowell.

"I knew coming into this run of Canadian Open, US Open and Scottish Open that there were spots up for grabs, but I have to be honest it’s really nice to get the job done the first week because it means I can really go and enjoy my golf for the next few weeks.

"It's going to be a very special week at the Open Championship, obviously in my hometown of Portrush, so I'm obviously ecstatic to be in the field.

"It was really difficult to focus lately because of the crowds. They knew I needed to get into the field at The Open and they have reminded me at every tee box. I have said to myself to focus and stay in the present and some guy will shout out ‘I hope you get in the Open buddy’, so it was difficult.

"It would have been very bitter-sweet for the Open to go to Portrush and me not to be there."

McDowell will now return to the scene of his only major triumph at Pebble Beach looking for more glory in the US Open next week and he is relishing that challenge.

"Now I can go to the US Open and get excited about being able to compete there and look beyond that into a great run at the Irish, Scottish and British Opens now," he added.

"I have a vision of getting back to the top of the game one more time and how cool would it be if Pebble Beach is once again the launching pad.

"It's a course that suits me because it's not a bombers' course. It gives us shorter hitters a chance as it's around 7,000 yards and I'm hoping it's going to be firm and fast, make the greens play really, really small.

"Super-disciplined iron play is required, it's really penal if you miss the greens. Similar to 2010 really. Firmness really is the protector at Pebble, and then obviously wind and a bit of weather.

"Going into that US Open at Pebble I was beginning to feel ready. I'd won the Welsh Open two weeks' previous so I was feeling very in control of my golf ball and I was very confident, but I probably deep down didn't believe that a major championship was just around the corner."

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