Apparently, the key to ending Graeme McDowell’s two-year winless drought was simply another stroll around Sherwood.
On a dreary day that made the Northern Irishman feel right at home, McDowell opened up a big lead around the turn and held off Keegan Bradley down the stretch to win the World Challenge on Sunday for the second time in three years.
McDowell closed with a 4-under 68 – his 12th consecutive under-par round at Sherwood – to finish at 17-under 271, three shots clear. Bradley (69), playing in the final group and at the forefront of the anchored-ban debate, cut the deficit to two with five holes to play, but could draw no closer.
Tournament host Tiger Woods, a five-time winner of this event, eagled the par-5 16th to salvage a T-4 finish – his worst result at Sherwood since a T-14 in 2005.
“I think I struggled a little bit with my game this week,” Woods said. “I didn’t quite have it.”
McDowell had a three-shot lead at the turn, then tacked on back-to-back birdies on Nos. 10 and 11. His bogey on 13 ended a streak of 41 consecutive holes with a bogey, and Bradley’s birdie on the same hole cut his deficit to two with five to play. On 18, G-Mac stuck his approach to 6 feet to close out the victory.
Recently, all of McDowell’s victories have been in the comeback variety. This was his first title from in front since 2008.