McDowell claims World Challenge victory

Graeme McDowell ended a two-year win drought in America
Graeme McDowell ended a two-year win drought in America

GRAEME McDowell wrapped up his 2012 season in style by winning the World Challenge in California yesterday.

The 33-year-old, held off US Ryder Cup star Keegan Bradley to claim a title he won for the first time in 2010.

McDowell has endured a frustrating season, contending in both the US Open and the Open Championship but failing to get across the finish line on either occasion.

He made no mistake yesterday, shooting a final round 68 which included two birdies in his final three holes.

His one blemish of the day came at the par five 13th, when a dropped shot allowed Bradley to close to within two but McDowell responded superbly over the closing stretch to eventually win by three shots.

The 2010 US Open winner, who recently got engaged, is planning to take a 10 week break for golf before returning to action in mid February.

“These next ten weeks are going to be very important to me to recharge and refocus and reset, because I know I’m in a good place, both on and off the course from where I’m going, and I feel very positive about next season,” said McDowell.

“I took three weeks off after the Ryder Cup, which were much needed. To be honest with you, looking back I probably shouldn’t have played the first playoff event. I wasn’t ready to play.

“I was kind of a little burned out after Kiawah. I wasn’t ready to play and I kind of stumbled my way through the PLAYOFFS with no great success.

“By the time I got to the Ryder Cup, I’d be lying if I said I was firing on all cylinders at the Ryder Cup.

“I didn’t feel like I was myself. I felt like I burned out the battery a little bit, and the three weeks off after the Ryder Cup were hugely important to me.

“I’ve been on the road. I was in China for two weeks. I had a quick vacation in Dubai for five days and then I was in Melbourne for a week and over to Dubai last week, and then here this week.

“So it’s been a few miles and to be honest with you, last night was my first decent night’s sleep since I got back over here. I’m looking forward to hanging the clubs up for a few weeks for sure.”

There was also victory yesterday for one of McDowell’s Ryder Cup team mates, Martin Kaymer, who survived a late wobble to hold on for his first title of the year with victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City.