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McDowell eyes opportunity for Augusta

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Shortly after his final round last Sunday at the World Cup in China Graeme McDowell was contacted by Chevron World Challenge officials. If there was a spot in the limit-field event did the Northern Irishman have any interest in playing?

“I had nothing going on and I was flying through California on my way to Orlando (Fla.) anyway,” reasoned McDowell, who earned the final spot in this week’s field at Sherwood Country Club when tournament host Tiger Woods withdrew due to injuries sustained in a car crash last Friday.

McDowell had a keen professional interest in playing this week’s event. For the first time competitors at the Chevron will earn world ranking points and he is currently ranked 55th, just outside the top 50 which would assure him a spot at next year’s Masters.

“I had no shot before,” said McDowell, who was travelling to Florida for next week’s Merrill Lynch Shootout, which does not award ranking points, followed by a short offseason. “Now I at least have a shot (to get into the top 50), so I just have to play and try not to put too much pressure on myself.”