Masterly McDowell reigns in Spain

Sotogrande: Briton Graeme McDowell continued his golden season by winning the Andalucia Masters on Sunday to put pressure on European money-list leader Martin Kaymer.

U.S. Open champion McDowell closed with a three-over 74 for a three-under 281 total in difficult conditions at Valderrama to win by two strokes from compatriot Gareth Maybin, Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Irishman Damien McGrane.

The first prize of 500,000 euros ($694,000) almost halves the amount the second-placed McDowell trails money-list leader Kaymer who finished down the field in a tie for 21st place.

There are four more events to come before Europe’s number one is crowned following the Dubai World Championship at the end of November.

McDowell, who claimed the winning point for Europe at the Ryder Cup earlier this month and also won the Welsh Open at the same Celtic Manor venue in June, signalled his intentions in Spain by grabbing the lead early in the week.

He shared the lead with fellow Northern Irishman Maybin going into the final round but, with strong winds sending scores soaring, McDowell found the going as tough as anyone on the last day.

Despite making three significant par saves by the 14th McDowell was overtaken by McGrane at the short 15th when his rival chipped in from sand for a birdie.

McGrane’s one-shot lead was short-lived, however, as he double-bogeyed the 16th and then ran up a second straight six by bogeying the 17th.

With McGrane out of contention, McDowell held off playing partner Maybin when both bogeyed the par-four last.

Bureau Report