Thursday, November 18, 2010

McDowell's Ryder Cup Reward

Graeme McDowell’s heroic 20 foot birdie putt at the 16th hole of his Ryder Cup singles match against Hunter Mahan has secured the Northern Irishman The European Tour Shot of the Month Award for October. The 2010 Ryder Cup had come down to the bottom single at The Celtic Manor Resort, and McDowell rose to the challenge by sinking that crucial birdie putt before wrapping up a trophy-winning 2 and 1 victory on the 17th. All square with three to play, McDowell knew that European hopes of regaining The Ryder Cup lay firmly and squarely on his shoulders. A halved match with Mahan would have resulted in a 14-14 tie and enabled the United States to keep the cup on their side of the Atlantic. However, the 2010 US Open Champion held his nerve and after finding the putting surface at the 16th McDowell stepped up to the mark and holed that slick downhill 20 footer for a birdie three to effectively puncture Mahan’s challenge. McDowell said: “The 16th was massive. It was a fast putt and I just had to get the ball going. Thankfully it caught the edge of the hole and dropped. I can honestly say it was the best putt I've hit in my life. “I had a massive amount of emotions going through my head, especially when I realised that my match was going to be hugely important. As my teammates started filtering back to me out on the course I found that Rickie Fowler had just halved his match, and a half wasn't good enough in my game any more. “I was really nervous over every shot. I think the 16th was the greatest second shot and the greatest putt I've ever hit in my career. It was just an amazing feeling.” In second place was Martin Kaymer’s superb second shot off the tarmac road at the 18th hole at the Old Course, St Andrews, with the resulting birdie securing a third title of the year, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Third was Matteo Manassero’s approach to the 14th in the final round of the CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar, which helped pave the way for the Italian teenager to collect his first European Tour title. The Shot of the Month is awarded to the Tour Member for the stroke judged to be the best played each month on The European Tour International Schedule. At the end of next week’s Race to Dubai, the winning shot from each month will be nominated for The European Tour Shot of the Year Award, which will be announced at the end of December. The monthly winners to date in 2010 have been Martin Kaymer of Germany (January and August), England’s Ian Poulter (February), Noh Seung-yul of Korea (March), Lee Westwood of England (April), England’s Luke Donald (May), McDowell of Northern Ireland (June and October), Miguel Angel Jiménez of Spain (July) and Edoardo Molinari (September).

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