Saturday 22 October 2016

Graeme McDowell aiming to become hat-trick hero at Alstom Open de France

Graeme McDowell
Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell will look to write his name in the record books by securing a hat-trick of wins in the Alstom Open de France at Le Golf National this week.

McDowell successfully defended a title for the first time in his career 12 months ago and would become the first player since Marcel Dallemagne in 1938 to win mainland Europe's oldest Open three times in succession with another victory on Sunday.

"Having a chance to win a tournament three times in a row is very special," McDowell said.

"I've always enjoyed this golf course, right back in the early days when I would come here."

McDowell, who won by four shots in 2013, overturned an eight-shot deficit in the final round last year thanks to a brilliant closing 67 despite the wet and windy conditions, although he also had plenty of help from American Kevin Stadler.

Stadler's four-shot overnight lead disappeared with a front nine of 41, but he battled back well with birdies on the 14th and 16th to pull within one of McDowell, who had moved three ahead with his fifth birdie of the day on the 16th.

With McDowell then dropping his only shot of the day on the 18th after finding heavy rough off the tee, Stadler needed to par the same hole to force a play-off but missed from two feet, just as McDowell left the recording area to prepare for extra holes.

"The two wins were obviously very different," added 2010 US Open champion McDowell. "You always like to win a tournament, as opposed to being given it to a certain extent. But winning a tournament back to back is also very special."

McDowell, who celebrated the birth of his first child last September, has recorded just one top-10 finish on the European Tour in 2015, in the Dubai Desert Classic at the start of February.


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