Graeme McDowell ends European Tour drought with Saudi International win

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Graeme McDowell has said his best golf could still be ahead of him after claiming his first European Tour win since 2014 at the Saudi International.

The Northern Ireland golfer finished 12 under on Sunday to win by two shots ahead of Dustin Johnson for his 11th European circuit victory.

“It’s 10 years since I played the best golf of my life,” said McDowell, whose sole major success is the 2010 US Open.

“I feel now like I’m moving back in the right direction.”

He added: “I’ve got my head around what I’m trying to do with the golf ball again and what I’m trying to do with the swing thanks to Kevin Kirk, who I started working with last August.

“Pete Cowen has been by my side for many years and I have Kenny [Combie] on the bag. I have a solid team and life has settled down.

“I’ve got a great wife and a great family – I’m very happy with what’s going on in my life right now. I feel like the ripples in the pond have steadied and I’m in a good place to play some good golf.

“Kevin said there is ‘no reason why the best golf in your career cannot be ahead of you’ and I like that idea. I like that focus.”

McDowell, who began the week ranked 104th in the world but has moved up to 47, said his first European Tour title in almost six years came sooner than he thought it would.

“I didn’t realise it had been quite so long to be honest,” the 40-year-old said.

“I’m very excited and relieved at what is a massive win. It’s a very difficult golf course and it is unusual to win feeling as uncomfortable as I did on the course.

“My big goal this year was to get back into the top 50 in the world and back competing in the big tournaments. I’m really excited that it’s happened a little sooner than expected but hopefully it lays the foundations for a big year.”

Overnight leader McDowell made three bogeys in his first 13 holes on Sunday as his lead was reduced to just one shot, but birdies at 14 and 15 calmed the nerves.

From there, he was able to par in and claim a first worldwide victory since his PGA Tour success in the Dominican Republic last March.

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