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Graeme McDowell Gets First PGA Tour Win in 2010 U.S. Open

Jerry MurphyContributor IJune 21, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, CA - JUNE 20:  Graeme McDowell (L) of Northern Ireland celebrates with his father Ken (R) and agent Conor Ridge (C) on the 18th green after winning the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 20, 2010 in Pebble Beach, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

What better way to take a Sunday afternoon stroll with your golf clubs, your caddy, and a few thousand new friends, than Pebble Beach?

Okay, so it was not just any Sunday afternoon stroll; it was the final group of the final round of the U.S. Open. A golf tournament no European had won since 1970.

Graeme McDowell changed all of that on Sunday.

You would think the way he navigated those cliffs in the fairways and the greens that had the bounce of a cart path that he would have double-digit wins on the PGA Tour.

Nope, this was his first.

To make this even more remarkable, he did it while in the crosshairs of some of the game's best players. With guys like Mickelson, Woods, and Els close enough to take a razor to his stubbly face, McDowell never wavered.

Sure, he had the occasional hiccup (he bogeyed Nos. 9, 10, 14, and 17 on Sunday). But while he was hiccuping everyone else seemed to be coughing up a lung.

For instance, in a week where bogey seemed as acceptable as par, he was the only player in the field who could claim the distinction of never having a hole worse than bogey (who said pars are not sexy?). He kept the ball in play (12th in greens in regulation) and was a master with the blade (he was third in putting).

Even when his lead was reduced to a single stroke he never blinked. At least not until his father Kenny, on Father's Day no less, greeted him on the 18th green following his monumental putt.

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So let us remember this U.S. Open for what it really was: an incredible display of nerve and ball control on a course designed to chew you up and spit you out.

While the game's greats are traveling home this evening thinking about the one that got away, one cannot help but wonder if hole No. 14 at Pebble Beach is not thinking the same thing about Graeme McDowell.

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