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Rory McIlroy might have taken the trophy but fellow countryman Graeme McDowell won something arguably even more significant in the final round of the Canadian Open – a place in this year’s Open.

McDowell, 39, holed a “one in ten” 30-foot putt at the last to seal one of two places available for next month’s championship taking place in his home town of Portrush.

After finishing in a tie for eighth at Hamilton, he admitted he was “very proud” to get the job done.

“I think I had reasonable belief in myself that I was going to be able to take care of it one of these weeks,” said McDowell. “Obviously, as the pressure started to build, it was going to be more difficult as it went along.

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“It’s awesome to get it done here. I’m very proud to have got one of the Open Championship spots and get that little monkey off my back and let me go and play some golf the next few weeks.”

McDowell hasn’t played in the Open since 2016, when he finished in a
tie for 63rd. However, a turnaround in his form – which saw him win the
Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in March, hiss first
PGA Tour victory since 2015 – has helped him plan a very special trip
back home.

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“It’s like chasing a ghost out there when you’re
trying to play for these spots because you don’t know whether fifth is
going to be enough and you’re thinking tenth might be enough,” he added.

“Literally going out there today thinking 65 might miss and 68 might
get in. Weird one. Very hard to focus. I wasn’t really focused on the
golf tournament at all today. I was just focused on trying to make a few
birdies and get myself as many under par as I could, which is weird”

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Whilst McDowell was wrapping up his Open spot, McIlroy was cantering to his 16th PGA Tour victory, flirting with a 59 before settling a 61 to win by seven shots from Shane Lowry and Webb Simpson.

The win has propelled the 30-year-old to third place on the Official World Golf Rankings.

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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