NEWPORT, Wales – Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland shot a closing-round 63 to pick up his fifth European Tour career victory at the Wales Open on Sunday.
McDowell’s 15 under total of 269 over this year’s Ryder Cup course at Celtic Manor left him three shots clear of Welshman Rhys Davies. England’s Luke Donald, the winner of last week’s Madrid Masters, finished in third place, two strokes further back.
As Germany’s third-round leader Marcel Siem collapsed to a 75 which left him in seventh place, McDowell fired eight birdies in the first 11 holes of his final round to move into a commanding lead of 15 under.
Siem’s woes left 25-year-old Davies, the favorite to win Europe’s Rookie of the Year title, as the main challenger. His 9-under 62, a record on the new course, contained two eagles.
McDowell, who is bidding to play here again in October at the Ryder Cup, said, “I couldn’t imagine playing the first 11 holes the way I did. It was dream stuff.
“This win now is a huge leg up in my campaign to win a Ryder Cup place this year. To have a victory around this course must be a huge feather in my cap if, come September I need the nod of a wild card from Colin Montgomerie.”
McDowell’s final round was bogey free although he did three-putt the 15th hole and needed a 20-foot par to save par at the next hole after driving into rough.
The challenge from Siem, who had led by three shots from Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez Castano, quickly petered out and both men failed to shoot under par.
Looking for his second victory in Europe since winning the 2004 Dunhill Championship, Siem was a victim of the pressure created by the early birdies McDowell, Davies and Donald were shooting in front of him.
Despite a birdie of his own at the par-5 second, he was only leading by one shot when he arrived at the short par-3 third.
After putting two balls into the lake beside the green and running up a quadruple bogey, Siem dropped out of contention.
Donald had started out seven shots off the lead in his bid for a second straight victory. He eagled the second and climbed into contention with three more birdies in the first half of his round.
But he could only manage one birdie over the closing nine holes and finished with a 65 that took him to 10 under.