Friday, February 25, 2011

Masters form guide - Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell has enjoyed a stellar 12 months. He started 2010 ranked 50th in the world, a reflection of his steady progress in the upper echelons of the game. He has since won his first major, hit the winning putt at a Ryder Cup, been made an MBE and is about to overtake Tiger Woods in the rankings.

All this must give the Ulsterman massive confidence, which makes him a serious challenger for glory at the Masters. More importantly he has good current form, having hit a blistering final round 62 to finish third in last month’s Hyundai tournament of champions and ending the Abu Dhabi Championship in the same position.

McDowell has so far beaten Heath Slocum and Ross Fisher by respective 4&3 and 4&2 scorelines in the WGC-Accenture Match Play, proving his game is in good working order as he continues his preparations for a major that he is yet to do himself justice in and the US Masters odds suggest he can do well this time around.

The man from Portrush finish joint 17th at Augusta in 2009 but missed the cut in his two other appearances, going home early last year with a disappointing +5 scorecard that contained four double bogeys.

He will be better prepared for the unique Augusta experience, both in terms of course familiarity and ability to handle pressure. All players walk the fairways differently after winning a major and McDowell knows this coming year provides an excellent opportunity to fill his trophy cabinet further. He was a shock winner at the US Open last year but it is a measure of his improvement that few will raise eyebrows if slips on the famous green jacket in a few weeks’ time.

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