• Open de France, Round Four

McDowell's topsy-turvy season continues

ESPN staff
July 7, 2013
The Open de France is McDowell's third title of the season © Getty Images

Open de France leaderboard

Graeme McDowell carded a superb four-under 67 in the final round of the Open de France to storm to a four-stroke victory over 54-hole co-leader Richard Sterne.

McDowell and Sterne both carded three birdies in the outward nine, but a solitary bogey at the seventh for McDowell meant the South African had the advantage at the turn.

But McDowell drew level with another birdie at ten and it all started to go wrong for Sterne, who dropped shots at 12, 16 and 17 to hand his opponent - who coasted in with one more birdie - the victory at nine-under par.

McDowell's up and down season so far...

  • Los Angeles Open: Missed Cut
    Honda Classic: Tied 9th
    WGC-Cadillac: Tied 3rd
    Arnold Palmer Invitational: Tied 45th
    The Masters: Missed Cut
    RBC Heritage: Champion
    Players Championship: Missed Cut
    World Match Play: Champion
    BMW PGA Championship: Missed Cut
    US Open: Missed Cut
    Irish Open: Missed Cut
    Open de France: Champion

McDowell missed the cut at last week's Irish Open, but chose to stay at Carton House to work on his game - a decision that proved pivotal as he went on to win the €500,000 first prize in Paris, taking him to within €30,000 of Race to Dubai leader Justin Rose.

The victory will also lift McDowell into the top ten of the Official World Golf Rankings when it is updated on Monday, with the Open Championship at Muirfield just two weeks away.

It has been an up and down season for the former US Open champion. The win is his third of the season, having already triumphed at the Volvo World Match Play and the RBC Heritage, but he has also missed six cuts in 11 stroke play events.

"It's very special after the last couple of months," McDowell admitted. "It's been a bit of a battle. It's been a funny year. My game has not felt far away most weeks but I have missed a lot more cuts than normal and missing cuts hurts.

"It certainly motivated me a lot the last few weeks. The US Open was a tough one to take and missing the cut in Ireland last week; it made me more hungry to want to be in positions like I was this afternoon."

Richard Sterne proved no match for overnight co-leader Graeme McDowell © Getty Images

Speaking of Le Golf National, which will host the Ryder Cup in 2018, McDowell added: "This is such a difficult course here, we may have one of the greatest Ryder Cup venues in European golf history in 2018.

"Anyone watching this week will get a sense for the match play drama this course is going to provide.

"I was thinking of the 18th hole all day and it was nice to have that cushion coming in. I got a little lucky coming in. I didn't hit my best putt on 15 or 16 and they went in. I struggled on the greens all week and didn't make many putts, but only making four bogeys all week was the key."

Only 12 players finished under par in difficult scoring conditions, with England's Graeme Storm - champion here in 2007 - and Spaniard Eduardo De La Riva tying for third at four-under.

Another Englishman, Simon Dyson, carded a level par 71 to finish standalone at three-under, a shot ahead of Wales' Jamie Donaldson and Australian Richard Green.

McDowell's compatriot Gareth Maybin headed a group of five at one-under, which also featured Scot Stephen Gallacher, England's David Howell and Danes Thomas Bjorn and Soren Kjeldsen.

It was a day to forget for Luke Donald, who triple-bogeyed the 18th for the second time this week to finish six-over par for the tournament.

Meanwhile, fellow Englishman Ian Poulter knew exactly what was to blame for his poor showing in Paris.

"I am sacking my putter," he wrote on his Twitter feed following a two-over 73 that saw him finish 11 shots off the lead. "I will use a new putter at the Open. Putter manufacturers please send me some to try to my office."

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