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DEFINING MOMENTS

MCDOWELL VICTORIOUS ON TOUR FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2015 By Adam Stanley

IMAGES: GETTY IMAGES; US PGA TOUR

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n the 17th hole at the Corales Golf Club, Graeme McDowell knew his approach was so good that he didn’t even need to look. McDowell, who captured the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship for his first PGA TOUR victory since 2015, pulled ahead for good after knocking his tee-shot on the tricky 17th to mere feet and draining the birdie. Ever-the-grinder, McDowell admitted life had got in the way the last few years. He and wife Kristin have three kids (Valyn, 10, Vale, 4, and Wills, 2). He opened two restaurants under his name. There are the homes in the Bahamas and Florida. He enjoys being a father, a restauranteur, and drinking the occasional pint of Guinness—perfectly poured, of course. But on the golf course, McDowell had struggled. He had fallen outside the top-125 on the FedExCup standings the last few seasons. He played the alternate-field event in Puerto Rico just a few weeks prior to try to get more FedExCup points and was in the Dominican Republic to try to do the same. He rode a hot putter to 64s on Friday and Saturday. He was in the final group on Sunday.

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The McDowell smile was back, and in his unique accent—part Ireland, part Alabama, after having spent his college years playing golf at the University of Alabama at Birmingham— he said he was excited for the final-round opportunity. His Sunday start was a dream. He was 4-under through seven. He bogeyed the ninth then made seven straight pars before he got to the par-3 17th. He eased a 6-iron next to the hole, made the birdie, and it was a two-shot swing. His bogey on the par-4 18th mattered little. In the blistering late-afternoon island heat, McDowell was a PGA TOUR winner once again. Although he didn’t get the idyllic end-oftournament scene he hoped for when he became a father—having his kids run out onto the green—the way he’s playing, and with the confidence this win has given him, don’t be surprised if he gets to have that moment sooner rather than later. ■ Adam Stanley is a freelance journalist based out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. His work can be found in a number of national and international publications.

Graeme McDowell held on for a one-shot victory at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE 2019, Part 2

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