HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – For all the big moments in Graeme McDowell’s career, his résumé was short on PGA Tour victories.
McDowell relished what he called his first authentic tour win, defeating fellow U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson in a playoff at the RBC Heritage on Sunday.
McDowell’s been at the center of some of golf’s biggest moments, from his rousing triumph at Pebble Beach in 2010 to capturing the winning point for Europe in that year’s Ryder Cup matches. He has six European PGA victories, too, but he hadn’t triumphed in the weekly grind of the world’s top tour.
McDowell pushed forward on wind-blown Harbour Golf Links when his rivals were moving backward, unnerved by the 20 to 30 mph winds.
He rallied from four strokes down when the day began to take a one-shot lead into the 72nd hole. Then after he made his only bogey of the round to fall into tie with Simpson, two-putted from about 15 feet to make a par on the extra hole that Simpson couldn’t match.
I guess the weather was what the doctor ordered. I needed that to get close to the leaders, said McDowell, who earned $1,044,000 for the victory.
CHAMPIONS: In Duluth, Ga., Bernhard Langer added to his impressive season by shooting a 67 to win the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship by three strokes. The 55-year-old Langer, who finished 10 under, had six birdies for his fifth top-three finish in six events.
EUROPEAN: In Valencia, Spain, Raphael Jacquelin of France won a record-tying playoff with a 5-foot birdie putt at the Spanish Open, edging Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer on their ninth try at the 18th hole. The only other European Tour event decided by a nine-hole playoff was the 1989 Dutch Open.