Missed it by that much
Posted on Jun 27, 2012 in Sports
Former Blazer, Graeme McDowell, falls one stroke short of first place in U.S. Open
It was a 24-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole on the final day of golf in the U.S. Open in San Francisco. Graeme McDowell found himself one stroke down after the 71-hole at the major championship golf tournament. His 24-foot putt stayed wide left, leaving him a tap in for second place. This left Webb Simpson in sole possession of first to claim his first major title.
McDowell said the somewhat disappointing second place finish hurts.
“You want it really badly. You practice so hard to be there, and it hurts when you’re there. But when it’s all done, you think back. You think, ‘I would like to do that again.’”
McDowell went into the day owning a share of the lead at one under with Jim Furyk but missed eight straight fairways at one point to send him on route to a 73 for the day. This gave him a 4-round total of just 2 over par. Simpson carded a final round 68 to finish play at 1-over par for the 72-hole event. Meanwhile, McDowell was forced to settle for a second place tie with Michael Thompson, an Alabama graduate and Birmingham native, at 2-over par 282. Thompson held the lead after the first round, shooting a 66.
In an interview on espn.com, McDowell compared competing in the U.S. Open to being on a rollercoaster.
“It’s like a really fast, scary rollercoaster that you get on at the time and you’re not sure if you like it,” he said. “It’s kind of scary, but once it’s done and you look back, you realize that you had a lot of fun and you would like to do it again. That kind of sums up what it’s like to compete on the big stage at a major championship.”
McDowell is arguable the most successful athlete to come out of UAB athletic program. He helped lead the Blazers to two NCAA tournaments. In 2002, he was the Haskins award winner, which signifies him being the most outstanding collegiate golfer in the United States.
McDowell put himself on the map with a 2010 U.S. Open victory at Pebble Beach and followed it up by beating Tiger Woods in a playoff in the Ryder Cup to be a hero for the European team.
His 2011 season was not as successful. McDowell’s game has been inconsistent. He has been working his way back to the top, finishing second at Abu Dhabi. However, he missed the cut at the Players Championship and at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The EdEx St. Jude Classic was just one week before the U.S. Open Championship at the tough Olympic club.
McDowell will be competing next at the Irish Open near his home of Portrush, Northern Ireland. He will no doubt represent UAB proudly as his former coach and current UAB head coach Alan Kaufman watches in support.