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G-Mac hoping to arrest slide in form by joining illustrious list of 3-time champs

McDowell could sure use a three-peat right now.

Graeme McDowell in action at the U.S. Open
Graeme McDowell in action at the U.S. Open

AN OUT-OF-sorts Graeme McDowell will get another opportunity to rediscover his form when he goes in search of a third consecutive Open de France title in Paris this week.

The Northern Irishman is bidding to join the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo in winning the competition for a third time, but his form has gradually deteriorated since helping Europe win the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles last September.

A tied-third finish at the World Gold Championships swiftly followed but since then, McDowell’s only top-10 finish on either the European or PGA Tours came with a tied-ninth at the Dubai Desert Classic in February.

McDowell said prior to missing the cut at the U.S. Open: ”All these crazy human-instinct thoughts go through your mind and it’s just about trying to get back in your processes and trust what you’re doing.

“And knowing that it’s not necessarily going to happen fast.

“You’ve got to just dig in and start grinding again and go back to all the things that worked in the past. And just start enjoying the game really.”

The prospect of joining another elite group of players to win a competition for three years running will also no doubt appeal, with Faldo, Ian Woosnam, Colin Montgomery, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els having all achieved the feat.

Le Golf National will host the next Ryder Cup on European soil in 2018 and McDowell has found the French course a happy hunting ground, having won by four shots in 2013 before defending his title with a one-stroke success.

Victor Dubuisson – one of McDowell’s Ryder Cup partners at Gleneagles – will lead the home hopefuls, while former winner Martin Kaymer competes for a ninth year running.

The pair will be joined by a number of 2014’s European heroes, with Lee Westwood, Jamie Donaldson, Thomas Bjorn and Stephen Gallacher all competing.

Surprise

Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee will be aiming to make his presence felt, having finished tied-second last year, while countryman Kiradech Aphibarnrat should have a spring in his step after finishing the BMW International Open in fourth last weekend.

Alongside Duibuisson will be eight French qualifiers who will bid to spring a surprise and claim the €3 million prize money - Joel Stalter topping qualifying with a seven-under finish.

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