G Mac Celebrates New Year Back Inside World’s Top-100

Graeme McDowell is celebrating the start to the New Year after moving back inside the world’s top-100 following his share of fourth in the Sony Hawaiian Open.

McDowell brilliantly snatched five birdies in succession from his fifth hole in a closing round six-under par 64 for a nine-under par tally.

It was just two shots shy of making the play-off and with an emotional Aussie Cameron Smith just managing to control his emotions not only in capturing a first individual PGA Tour victory but near in tears when speaking at the presentation ceremony of his beloved Australia continuing to battle deadly bush fires that continue to bring death, hardship and despair for the island continent.

“I might tear up here, but I hope this win brings a bit of joy to Australia,” said Smith trying to contain his emotions.

“I know we are going through some tough times, but keep in there.  We are all trying to raise money for you.  We all love you.  So thank you.”

Two shots behind with two holes to play, Smith holed an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole in a round of 65 and an 11-under par tally to force a playoff against a faltering American Brendan Steele, and won with a two-putt par from 10 feet on the first extra hole.

McDowell’s round is his lowest since a pair of 64s last March and on route to victory in the Corales Puntacana Championship.

G Mac teed-up in Hawaii having slipped to 120th on the official World Rankings but has moved-up 20 places to be the No. 100th ranked player and back inside the top-100 for a first time since missing the halfway cut in last August’s Northern Trust, and the opening event of the PGA Tour ‘Play-Off Series’.

“The key was to play the front nine well as I really hadn’t done that well this week as it was the back nine had been where I made most of my score,” he said.

“But it was really nice to get out on the front. Difficult conditions, you know, a bit more sustained rain today and a little less wind. Golf course is so soft. I felt like I had to try and keep the pedal down as much as I could because I knew scoring would be a little bit better today.

“So, all in all, happy with the week. Going to come up three or four short probably, but very content with a lot of the things I’m doing with my game right now.”

And McDowell again singled out his work with new coach, Kevin Kirk and who he has been working since last August and with McDowell now producing the golf we know he’s capable.

“I started working with a new coach in August, Kevin Kirk, and he’s really got my technique dialed back in again and got my head dialed back in again, which is most important,” said McDowell.

“He’s got me practicing the right way and thinking the right way.

“So I’m excited just where he’s got me. I’m just excited with the schedule ahead really. I’m in my 40s now. I’m trying to view this as really trying to enjoy what I’m doing out here. I know it’s going to not be around forever.

“It’s important to work hard, prepare hard, and just go out there and try and relax and enjoy myself as much as possible.”

Shane Lowry also produced a final round 64 to finish a superb runner-up to Aussie Wade Ormsby in the Hong Kong Open but with the Open Champion remaining at World No. 19.

Rory McIlroy remains at No. 2 in the world but with current World No. 1 Brooks Koepka fit to commence his 2020 season at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and where Lowry will defend in the UAE capital.




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