Graeme McDowell held on to claim a third European Tour title of the 2010 season at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters. The Northern Irishman finished two shots clear of Søren Kjeldsen, Damien McGrane and Gareth Maybin.
McDowell began the day tied for the lead with Maybin, four clear of the pack on six-under-par. But both struggled early in their rounds and Damien McGrane made a push for the top of the leaderboard. When he pitched in from the greenside bunker on the 15th, he took the lead at five-under-par. But, the Irishman faltered on the run for home. He slumped to a double-bogey six at the 16th then dropped further shots at the 17th and 18th.
Although McDowell struggled to find the greens in regulation on a testing final day, he scrambled well and gave a lesson in damage limitation coming down the stretch. When Maybin made a bogey at the 17th, Golf Monthly columnist McDowell was given the luxury of a two-shot cushion coming down the final hole.
He played the 18th cautiously, leaving his second shot short of the green. Aware that a five would be good enough to take the title he putted up onto the surface. He nudged his par effort to the edge of the hole then tapped in to seal the victory.
With the win McDowell closed the gap on Martin Kaymer at the top of the Race to Dubai standings. There’s now just €500,000 between the two.
McDowell has also moved into the top-10 on the Official World Golf Ranking. It means there are now six Europeans in the top-10. Martin Kaymer failed in his bid to take over the World Number 1 slot. The German needed to finish tied second or better but he struggled to a closing 75 and ended the week in a tie for 21st.
As a result, Lee Westwood has taken over from Tiger Woods as the new World Number 1. He is only the 13th player to hold the position since the rankings began in 1986.
Andalucia Valderrama Masters
Club de Golf Valderrama, Sotogrande, Spain
October 28-31, purse €3,000,000, par 71
1 Graeme McDowell (NIR) 68 67 72 74 281 €500,000
T2 Søren Kjeldsen (Den) 71 75 68 69 283 €223,710
T2 Damien McGrane (Irl) 68 73 70 72 283 €223,710
T2 Gareth Maybin (NIR) 69 68 70 76 283 €223,710
T5 Thomas Björn (Den) 72 69 71 72 284 €116,100
T5 Joost Luiten (Ned) 74 69 72 69 284 €116,100
T7 Raphaël Jacquelin (Fra) 71 70 73 71 285 €82,000
T7 Miguel Angel Jiménez (Esp) 70 70 71 74 285 €82,000
9 S.S.P Chowrasia (Ind) 71 73 72 71 287 €67,200
T10 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 70 73 69 76 288 €53,775
T10 José Maria Olazabal (Esp) 73 72 73 70 288 €53,775
T10 Anthony Wall (Eng) 72 73 71 72 288 €53,775
T10 Steve Webster (Eng) 73 74 69 72 288 €53,775
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only