Category: Archive

Tiger’s pain is McDowell’s gain

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

After opening with rounds of 71 and 69, McDowell carded 66 for Saturday’s third round, which placed him atop the leaderboard with Y.E. Yang, who denied Woods the PGA title back in August. But there was plenty of heat coming from other quarters, including Padraig Harrington, who won this event in 2002. Harrington started the final round a stroke off the leaders.
Despite needing only 25 putts on Sunday, McDowell couldn’t hold off Furyk, who shot 67 to make up the two strokes by which he trailed McDowell, while allowing him a cushion of one stroke for the victory. McDowell needed an eagle at 18 to force a playoff with Furyk, and very nearly holed out from the fairway to do just that, but was left with a short birdie putt to claim sole possession of second place at 12-under-par 276.
This is the first year that this event has offered Official World Golf Rankings points. McDowell entered the tournament ranked 55th, but moved up to 38th after Sunday. The top 50 are invited to the 2010 Masters.
“It’s been a frustrating year,” McDowell said. “I’ve got nothing out of all the work I’ve put in, and in a funny way this kind of puts a bit of a shine on it, and gives me a little something back for all my hard work this year. I was certainly playing nothing-to-lose golf this weekend. I just felt fortunate to be here, anyway.”
McDowell thinks he has put the finger on what might have held him back from winning any tournament this year.
“I became very technical,” McDowell said. “I’ve never been a technical golfer. Starting to know a little too much about positions, and what the club’s doing and why, and blah, blah, blah. I was becoming too knowledgeable about my own swing and sometimes knowledge can be a bit of a disadvantage. So, I really just tried to quiet my mind down a little bit and get back to playing golf. And the ball started to behave itself, started to work. I’m just shaping the ball around again, and like I say, started to get a bit of feel back in my game.”
Harrington did his best work on Sunday from off the greenS, holing out from a greenside bunker at the second hole and chipping in from the fringe at 16, both for eagles. He finished tied for third place with Lee Westwood at 11-under-par 277. Harrington fingered the culprit for his inability to recapture the title.
“I misread the greens all week,” Harrington said. “For some reason, I kept hitting my left-to-right putts high, and I was seeing a right-to-left break that wasn’t there.”

Gary Murphy and Simon Thornton secured positions on the 2010 European Tour by finishing in the top 30 at the Tour’s Qualifying Tournament at Catalunya in Girona, Spain last week. Murphy, who has played the Tour regularly since 2003, was forced to requalify for next year due to finishing 124th on the 2009 Order of Merit. At Catalunya, he finished joint-16th at 11-under-par 417 (69-67-70-74-69-68). His situation looked somewhat dire after he fell out of the top 30 with his fourth-round 74, but he carded enough birdies over the final 36 holes to assure his return next year.
Thornton, who has been affiliated with Royal County Down for several years, shot the highest possible score – 418 (67-75-69-69-67-71) – to qualify. He nearly frittered his chance away at the 108th hole, where he carded bogey, but a birdie at 17 provided the needed cushion. He played 2009 on the Challenge Tour, on which he stood 51st on the Order of Merit.
Failing to qualify, but earning varying levels of status on the 2010 Challenge Tour were Niall Kearney, who tied for 46th place at 421 (72-68-68-69-74-70), and a trio that failed to make the 72-hole cut: Jon Caldwell, Colm Moriarty, and John Kelly.

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