February 2, 2020 / 3:21 PM / 2 months ago

McDowell ends European Tour title drought with Saudi Arabia win

(Reuters) - Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell won his first European Tour title since 2014 with a two-shot victory at the Saudi International in King Abdullah Economic City on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Golf - The 148th Open Championship - Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland - July 18, 2019 Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell during the first round REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

In windy conditions at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, McDowell negotiated the final round in a level-par 70 to finish at 12-under, two shots clear of American defending champion Dustin Johnson.

McDowell’s slim overnight lead evaporated at the opening hole as he carded a bogey after finding the bunker with his tee shot.

The 40-year-old made the turn in a solid 36 before a bogey at the 13th left him just one shot ahead of the chasing pack.

But he birdied the 14th and 15th to land his 11th European Tour victory, his first since a successful defense at the 2014 Open de France.

“It’s special,” he said. “I’ve been working hard the last year and a half. I want to be back up there one more time, just to be able to play against these guys.

“The game of golf is in such great shape, there are so many great players in the world, it’s so exciting to be a top player in the world and I want to be back up there again.”

Johnson finished with an eagle at the 18th to leapfrog compatriot Phil Mickelson and Belgian Thomas Pieters into second spot on his own, signing for a 67.

Mickelson made a hat-trick of birdies from the second but could not make another until the last in a round of 67, finishing third at nine-under alongside Pieters and Malaysia’s Gavin Green.

England’s Ross Fisher eagled the last to finish two shots further back alongside France’s Victor Dubuisson, Spaniard Sergio Garcia, Mexico’s Abraham Ancer and Belgium’s Thomas Detry.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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