Graeme McDowell enjoyed a long awaited return to form, firing a five under par final round 67 to claim a tie for 11th at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
McDowell’s scorecards have been busting of late but there was no danger of that as the Northern Irishman negotiated the Nevada track bogey-free in a welcomed end of season boost.
It was the McDowell of old too as the former US Open champion grinded his way to the 6th with a string of pars before holing an 18-footer for an opening birdie. A great up and down from the greenside bunker for par on 8 was enhanced by another birdie on 9, Graeme’s putter finding a bit of heat.
Out in 33, it was clear his irons were a long way from dialled-in, but what he lacked in approach he more than made up for with his scoring clubs. A chip and a putt led to another gain at the par-5 13th before he performed the same trick at the long 16th, McDowell to four under for the day and eyeing a top-10 finish.
He drained an important 10-footer for par on 17 to keep momentum going and finished in style, signing off with a birdie three at the last to jump 18 places up the leaderboard when it mattered most.
Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for Seamus Power who suffered a familiar case of Sunday Blues on the PGA Tour. A clumsy double bogey six at the 3rd set the tone for a disappointing day as Power struggled to the turn in 37 strokes.
He picked up on the back nine just as he did on Saturday, taking care of the two par-5s with birdie fours to return to parity for his round, before the West Waterford man found the water at the last with his approach, an expensive end to yet another tournament that had promised so much more.
He holed a brave 8-footer to limit the damage to just the one dropped shot but he lost 23 places on the final day – a tie for 41st forming an eerily similar story to that of his Rookie year.
To use a footballing analogy, if you don’t put yourself in position, you’ll never score, but these botched chances will eventually start to take their toll on Seamus, if they haven’t already. Power needs to start converting.
The event was won by Patrick Cantlay who beat Alex Cejka & Whee Kim on the second play-off hole to claim his first PGA Tour. Cantlay, whose career was almost derailed by a severe back injury, did it the hard way having bogeyed the final two holes in regulation play to ensure a three-way play-off and then on the second play-off hole had to get up and down from the back of the 18th green for the win after all three players had bogeyed it first time around.
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