Graeme McDowell’s had a change of heart and will head to this week’s Scottish Open in what he rightfully describes as a ‘Last Chance Saloon’ to win through to next week’s Open Championship.
Graeme McDowell / Image from Getty Images
McDowell and Dubai Duty Free Irish Open final round partner, Paul Dunne were inseparable after four Ballyliffin rounds, shooting closing day 71s for level par totals.
McDowell grabbed two birdies but for a third of four days he bogeyed Ballyliffin’s last and it was his dropped shot at 18 on Saturday that clearly tested GMac’s patience, so much so he suggested he was returning to the States having not seen his young family for nearly three weeks.
However, with three Carnoustie spaces on offer at the Scottish Open starting Thursday at Gullane to the east of Edinburgh, McDowell was heading to his parents home in Portrush for two days of home cooking before heading to Scotland.
“I think I may have changed my mind there slightly today as I was frustrated yesterday,” he said.
“Frustrated is probably overstating it a little bit as my game was so close and I was feeling maybe a bit of fatigue in my body and I was maybe overreacting a little bit. I’ve played so much golf and there’s no point quitting now when we have more Open spots up next week.”
“So next week is a ‘Last Chance Saloon’ so I’ll go home, enjoy so of mum’s home-cooking, go up to Portrush, recharge and get ready.”
“I played pretty well at Gullane last time we were there. I just need to get focus and can get my head into it. Besides the Open Championship is very important to me and I just overreacted a little bit yesterday. You make a lot of bogeys on the golf course; you have a lot of time to think out there and sometimes you come up with the wrong answers.”
“I slept on it and think it’s important that I go there and be focused.”
Dunne recorded 14 birdies over the four days, including four over his final day, and while he also posted eight bogeys and with just one on each day of the weekend, it was a trio of double-bogeys that took a lot of the shine of his display.
Little wonder the Greystones golfer was heading home frustrated after finishing just inside the top-50, after T54th last year and T60th in 2016.
“That’s three Irish Opens, three times I’ve made cuts but three very average finishes,” he said.
“The overall feeling would be slight frustration for the week as I felt like I played better than around 50th place,” he said.
“It was just one of those things as I couldn’t get anything going for the week. I couldn’t get it in the fairway enough to have consistent chances to attack flags and today was a little bit like Saturday.”
“I got it under par early, had a few chances to get a bit more under, didn’t take them, get a couple of bad breaks and all of a sudden you’re back to square one.”
“But in saying that it’s been a great week with the crowds, environment, having family up, all that stuff. I can’t remember the last time I had a thousand people watching me when I play was in 50th. Normally there’s three and those three are with you. You get support and that’s a positive.”