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Impressive McDowell wins after play-off

ESPN staff
April 21, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Graeme McDowell held his nerve to win a play-off for the RBC Heritage title © Getty Images
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Graeme McDowell claimed his second victory on the PGA tour after seeing off Webb Simpson in a play-off to win the RBC Heritage in South Carolina as both players finished the tournament tied at nine-under-par.

McDowell missed a crucial putt for par at the 18th, dropping him back from the outright lead as he finished with a two-under-par final round of 69.

A play-off with Simpson ensued as the players made their way back to the 18th tee. Both found the fairway with their drives, but it was McDowell who held the advantage as his approach landed 12-foot short of the pin. Simpson missed the green to the right, and saw his chip narrowly miss the hole and roll to six-feet.

McDowell left his birdie chance short, but holed for par and the victory was sealed when Simpson failed to hole his resulting putt.

"It was really tricky and gusty out there," McDowell told Sky Sports. "I'm just really happy to get my first authentic PGA tour win across the line.

"I played great Friday, but the putter was cold most of the week but I really got it going today. I'm just disappointed for Webb, he had a great first putt on his play-off hole and he got a terrible gust of wind there which took it three or four feet, but that's how it was today."

The Northern Irishman enjoyed a solid start, making par on his first four holes before sinking a five-footer for his first birdie of the day at the par-five fifth. A further four pars meant that McDowell finished his opening nine holes bogey-free, before a marvellous approach and 28-foot putt saw him gain another shot at the 11th.

More smart approach play saw McDowell make another birdie at the 16th. Following a huge drive, the Ulsterman pitched within eight feet of the pin before holing his putt to move to the top of the leaderboard.

McDowell's short game began to thrive in the windy conditions at the Harbour Town course as he produced a par-saving up-and-down at the 17th after over-hitting his tee-shot.

However, the mistake came at the wrong time for McDowell as he missed a vital putt for par on the final hole, dropping him back to nine-under along with Simpson.

Luke Donald was left frustrated after his final round in South Carolina, where a poor back-nine scuppered the former world No. 1's rise up the leaderboard. Donald got off to a blistering start, making birdie in four of his first six holes to challenge the leaders.

However, the Englishman suffered after the turn as, despite cancelling outa bogey at ten with a birdie on eleven, Donald carded two more bogeys to finish his tournament with a two-under-par 69, leaving him seven-under overall.

Elsewhere, overnight leader Charley Hoffman suffered a stuttering start to his final round, dropping a shot either side of a solitary birdie in his front-nine. It did not get any better for the American as he endured another bogey at the 12th before finding the water at the par-three 14th, dropping further out of contention before finishing his tournament with a six-over-par 77 leaving him four shots off the lead.

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