GMac back on track after Mexican playoff

Graeme McDowell salvaged a disappointing season by winning the OHL Classic

Graeme McDowell wins OHL Classic
Graeme McDowell wins OHL Classic
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Graeme McDowell salvaged a disappointing season with a fine playoff win over Russell Knox and Jason Bohn in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland won the weather-delayed OHL Classic at Mayakoba after a playoff against Scotland’s Russell Knox and Jason Bohn of the USA.

McDowell made a clutch putt on the final hole for a 66 and a four-round total of 266. But it looked as though he may come up one shot shy in his effort: Russell Knox needed just a par on the home hole to win his second tournament in a row, after he won the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

Knox drove into a bunker on the 18th and was unable to reach the green from there, his chip was also short and he missed a 12-foot putt to take the title. He tapped in for bogey and tied McDowell and Jason Bohn, who had made four par-saving putts in this last five holes.

The playoff was a short-lived affair. McDowell hit a good tee shot with a 3-wood then played a sublime 5-iron that nearly went in the cup and ended just a couple of feet away. The resulting birdie was enough to secure the title for the Northern Irishman.

4 Talking points from the OHL Classic at Mayakoba

1 – The victory goes a long way to salvaging a poor year for McDowell. He elected to miss the last two events on the Race to Dubai schedule to play in Mexico and the move has clearly paid off. He admits that since the birth of his daughter last September, he’s struggled to focus on golf. He cites that as a key reason why he hasn’t posted a top-10 finish since the Dubai Desert Classic.

"It's been a rough year for all the right reasons," he said. "I've been enjoying life off the golf course with my beautiful family. Golf hasn't been the priority it should be. But the last three or four months I got back to where I want to be."

Graeme McDowell on hitting the 100-yard pitch:

2 – Russell Knox continued his superb run of form. After winning the WGC-HSBC Champions, he must have been tired having travelled from China to compete in Mexico. But he overcame tiredness to come incredibly close to securing two wins in a row on the PGA Tour. He’s 38-under-par for his last two weeks of competitive golf. He’s the early leader on the FedEx Cup standings and he’s into the top-30 on the Official World Golf Rankings. It’s been quite a spell for the 30-year-old from Inverness.

3 – Jason Bohn had another good week. He’s been tied 3rd in the Open and then tied 2nd at the Shriners, another tied 2nd place this week sees him into the top-five on the FedEx Cup standings. It was his third straight top-10 finish in the OHL Classic.

4 – Young Spanish amateur Jon Rahm had an impressive week. The Arizona State senior finished in a tie for 10th place. He recovered brilliantly in the final round after opening with two consecutive double bogeys. He fired in six birdies in the remainder of his round. He’s one to look out for next year.

OHL Classic El Camaleon GC, Playa del Carmen, Mexico Nov 12-16 Purse: $6,200,000, par 71

1    Graeme McDowell (NIR) 67    63    70    66    266    $1,116,000 T2    Jason Bohn (USA)    70    63    65    68    266    $545,600 T2    Russell Knox (Sco)    70    65    65    66    266    $545,600 4    Derek Fathauer (USA)    65    66    66    71    268    $297,600 T5    Scott Brown (USA)    67    67    68    68    270    $235,600 T5    Harold Varner III (USA)    70    62    68    70    270    $235,600 7    Brice Garnett (USA)    67    66    69    69    271    $207,700 T8    Keegan Bradley (USA)    67    71    68    66    272    $186,000 T8    Johnson Wagner (USA)    67    67    67    71    272    $186,000  

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?