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Champagne finish but McDowell started comeback with two glasses of wine

The Northern Irishman took a leaf out of Jimenez’ wine-drinking book to claim French Open glory.

Graeme McDowell drinks champagne after winning the French Open Golf tournament at Paris National course.
Graeme McDowell drinks champagne after winning the French Open Golf tournament at Paris National course.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

GRAEME MCDOWELL REVEALED he enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine to take the edge off his faltering challenge at the French Open. Less than 24 hours later and the Northern Irishman was quaffing champagne on the 18th green at the Paris National course.

McDowell carded a superb closing round of 67 to overtake America’s Kevin Stadler and retain his French Open title. The victory was remarkable for two reasons — McDowell’s round was two shots better than anyone else could manage on a day played out in tough conditions, and Stadler imploded with a +5 round of 76 to blow his chances.

McDowell earned €500,000 for the triumph and told reporters, following his win, that he felt the tournament was lost by the time he opened the wine on Saturday night. He said, “Thought I shot myself out of it again [after Saturday's round of 73]. Made a bad swing on 10, a bad swing on 13 and bad break on 14 and the rest was history.

As I thought [that way], I had a glass of wine or two last night to kind of drown my frustration; only two glasses of wine, wasn’t like I had a big night out in Paris or anything.  Yeah, I was frustrated, I guess, after the [round].

“But coming into today, the way the weather was, I thought if I could shoot -3 or -4 par and try to get myself to -5. That was kind of my target to be honest with you. I thought if I could get to 5‑under, I might have a shot.”

McDowell got to -6 at one stage but bogeyed 18. Stadler, who was suffering with a stiff back and problems off the tee, birdied 16 to draw level. He had a birdie putt to win the title on 18 but missed, then failed to hole the return putt. His bogey handed McDowell a win that significantly boosts his Ryder Cup qualification chances.

He commented, “It was getting to that point where I was thinking ‘Have I left this Ryder Cup race a little too late’. Yes, I said that it wasn’t in my mind and it wasn’t something that was going to be bothering me, but, of course I want to be on that team. I knew I needed to perform, and it was nice to play as well as I did for 27 holes this weekend.”

Check out how McDowell retained his French Open title:

Source: Fédération française de Golf/YouTube

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Patrick McCarry

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