In-form G-Mac gunning for Pebble return


Graeme McDowell has already achieved two of goals for this year. The first was to secure his PGA Tour status, which he did so thanks to victory at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, his first in nearly four years on the PGA Tour.

The next was to nail down a spot in the field for the Open at Portrush, his hometown, which he duly did via a top eight finish last week in Canada.

And he’s excited about what could be next.

His upturn in form, of course, has coincided perfectly with a return to Pebble Beach, home of his US Open victory back in 2010. It was the 39-year-old’s finest hour, and the good vibes seem to be rolling back.

“I obviously feel like my game suits this golf course, and I’m certainly not here to take the views in as much as I’m here to compete,” he said.

“Four or five months ago, if you’d told me you’re on the first tee with Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson at the US Open, where my game was or where my confidence level was, I would have been very intimidated.

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“But I come into this week feeling very good about my game and hopefully I can get myself in position to be able to compete this weekend.”

McDowell also reflected on that victory in 2010 – where he capitalised on a collapse by Dustin Johnston - and how the course set-up at Pebble Beach had a huge impact on his first major win.

“I’m probably a lot closer to Dustin now that I was in 2010, I think the Saturday was the first time I’ve ever played with him.

“It certainly didn’t affect him in the long term, and I have huge respect for Dustin.

“I look at the way the bunkers are set up with the fescue around the lips of the bunkers, and always think it’s a beautiful feature - but an incredibly unfair one too.

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“It’s amazing because I look at those bunkers and, in a way, I should be pretty thankful, as it won me the US Open potentially.”

G-Mac will tee-off tomorrow at 4:13pm British time with Dustin Johnson, the 54-hole leader back in 2010, and six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson, who won at Pebble Beach in February this year and requires a win this week to complete the career Grand Slam.

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