Thursday, September 02, 2010

McDowell to feature in Austria

US Open Champion Graeme McDowell is planning to fine-tune his game for The Ryder Cup by playing in the Austrian Golf Open presented by Botarin at Diamond Country Club near Vienna later this month. The €750,000 tournament, from September 16 – 19, is the penultimate European Tour event before Colin Montgomerie’s European Team takes on the USA at The Celtic Manor Resort, and after a few weeks’ rest McDowell is aiming to sharpen up over the 7,053 yard par 72 Diamond Course. The Northern Irishman sealed his place in Europe’s Team with his historic victory at Pebble Beach in June, a week after he clinched The Celtic Manor Wales Open over The Twenty Ten Course. Having also finished fourth at the Madrid Masters a week earlier, McDowell has enjoyed a well-deserved rest since playing in the US PGA Championship. “I have taken a few weeks’ break after the US PGA to focus on the rest of my season and to be fresh for The Ryder Cup,” said the 31 year old. “My next and only tournament before Celtic Manor will be the Austrian Golf Open. I have always enjoyed playing in Austria and I see this as a good opportunity to become sharp ahead of our match against the United States. “I have a good record in Austria, having finished ninth in 2007 and eighth in 2008, both at Fontana Golf Club. In 2008, which was also a Ryder Cup year, I had a great chance to win, or at least get a top three, in Austria which would have given me valuable Ryder Cup points. Unfortunately I played aggressively on the last, found water, and slumped to eighth. Thankfully a month later I had some great results, including a win at The Barclays Scottish Open, which secured my place on Sir Nick Faldo's team. “So it looks like Austria will have yet another indirect say in my preparations for a Ryder Cup, and I am looking forward to checking out the new venue at The Diamond Country Club.” Diamond Country club takes over the staging of the Austrian Golf Open – which was first played in 1990, when Germany’s Bernhard Langer took the title – from Fontana Golf Club, the host venue for the past seven seasons. The course, which opened in 2002, features water hazards on nine of the 18 holes, including the 192 yard 11th and 159 yard 15th holes, where both tee shots are played to island greens. McDowell will be joined in Austria by his Ryder Cup team-mate Miguel Angel Jiménez, Todd Hamilton, the 2004 Open Champion, Simon Khan, winner of this year’s BMW PGA Championship, and is defending champion Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who won in stunning style last year, shooting a sensational 60 in the final round to win by one shot from Benn Barham.


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