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McDowell shining as Wentworth approaches

ESPN staff
May 20, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Graeme McDowell will be hoping to improve his record at the BMW PGA Championships at Wentworth © Getty Images
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After a solid showing to defeat Thongchai Jaidee 2&1 in the final of the Volvo World Match Play Championship, Graeme McDowell collected his second trophy in three tournaments as he prepares to tackle the PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Picking up the first place prize of £675,000 McDowell showed composure to come from behind and edge victory over the Thai, adding the title to his RBC Heritage win in April.

Triumph in Bulgaria sees the Northern Irishman rise to the top of the Race to Dubai rankings, but attention will now turn to Wentworth, where McDowell does not possess a glowing record; he has failed to make the cut in his previous two visits.

In the last ten years at the Surrey course, McDowell's highest finish has been tied for 13th. And having been paired with radio DJ Chris Evans for the annual Celebrity Pro-am tournament before the championship starts, the 33-year-old will be hoping for a star-studded performance in a bid to continue his recent good form.

McDowell moved up to seventh in the official world rankings following his latest victory at Thracian Cliffs, and was pleased to see his name etched alongside such prestigious previous winners as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros.

"The par putts on the fifth, ninth and 10th were huge, they were the turning points," McDowell said. "We have been talking all week about how prestigious this event is. I can't say how excited I am to win it and add my name to that list of legends.

"It was not quite the salubrious golf of this morning (when he was eight-under in beating Branden Grace 3&2 in the semi-final). It was a little more tentative, there was a lot on the line.

"I played strongly coming in and I sensed Thongchai [Jaidee] was a little fatigued. I really tried to feed off that and show him I was really up for it. He made his first mistake on the 14th and the 15th has been kind to me all week."

The former US Open champion became the first Northern Irishman to win the World Match Play Championship, after losing out in the final to Nicolas Colsaerts last year, and became the first top seed to win the event since Ernie Els in 2004.

Victory for McDowell gains him qualification to the 2014 Volvo Golf Champions and 2014 Volvo World Match Play Championship, but capitalising on his sparkling form and ending his Wentworth hoodoo will surely take priority now.

World Rankings: 1. Tiger Woods (USA), 2. Rory McIlroy (NIR), 3. Adam Scott (AUS), 4. Justin Rose (ENG), 5. Brandt Snedeker (USA), 6. Luke Donald (ENG), 7. Graeme McDowell (NIR), 8. Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), 9. Phil Mickelson (USA), 10. Steve Stricker (USA), 11. Keegan Bradley (USA), 12. Lee Westwood (ENG), 13. Matt Kuchar (USA), 14. Sergio Garcia (ESP), 15. Charl Schwartzel (RSA), 16. Webb Simpson (USA), 17. Ian Poulter (ENG), 18. Bubba Watson (USA), 19. Dustin Johnson (USA), 20. Jason Dufner (USA).

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