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Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Rookie McDowell wins in Sweden
Rookie Graeme McDowell was in the lead after round three
McDowell was in a tie for the lead after round three

Northern Ireland rookie Graeme McDowell won the Scandinavian Masters in only his fourth European Tour event.

Portrush's McDowell, 23, carded a final-round 67 to beat South African Trevor Immelman, 22, by one shot.

The Ulsterman finished on 14 under par at the Kungsangen course in Stockholm which he became attached to earlier this week.

It's the best feeling in the world
Graeme McDowell

One shot further back were former USPGA champion Jeff Sluman and Sweden's Henrik Bjornstad.

McDowell, a member of Peter McEvoy's victorious 2001 Walker Cup team, had time for only nine practice holes at Kungsangen before the tournament but romped to a course-record 64 to lead after the first round.

A second-round 73 followed by a 66 on Saturday kept him in contention before a final-round 18 holes which included an eagle, five birdies and three bogies.

He also single-putted 12 holes after borrowing a putter off idol and countryman Darren Clarke on Saturday.

"I can't believe it. I can't describe how I'm feeling," said McDowell, who picked up a cheque for 200,000 and a two-year Tour exemption.

"It's the best feeling in the world. I was just trying to go as many under par as I could and I made some nice putts coming in.

"Darren's definitely not getting his putter back.

"Two weeks ago my putting was at its lowest but as soon as I put Darren's putter in the bag I shot a 66 and I've been rolling them in ever since."

McDowell began the final day in a three-way tie with Swedish Ryder Cup player Niclas Fasth and Sluman.

The lead went through several pairs of hands during the round and a play-off looked on the cards as Immelman and McDowell teed up on 18 tied on 14 under.

Trevor Immelman
Els' protege Immelman finished second

McDowell's drive finished under the lip of a fairway bunker and he could only splash out sideways.

He was still behind Immelman's drive but then played a superb third shot to two feet to save par, while Immelman's approach flew over the green and he ended up with a bogey.

"When I saw where my ball was on the 18th green I allowed myself a high-five with my caddie," said McDowell.

McDowell had earlier needed to draw on his mental reserves after a near disaster while in the lead on 14 under on the 15th.

He shanked a greenside bunker shot into the adjacent lake en route to a bogey as Immelman, and Fasth behind him, made birdies to overhaul him at the top.

"The ball was a bit above my feet in the bunker and I got my hands ahead of the ball - I couldn't believe what was happening," said McDowell.

"I was going to just drop another in the bunker but my caddie calmed me down and I got a good drop by the water."

Two double bogies

But he composed himself to make a 15-foot putt for birdie on 16 to get back to 14 under and watched as his rivals faltered.

"The birdie on 16 was huge for me," said McDowell, who was the top US college golfer - with a better stroke average than Tiger Woods at Stanford - in his last year at the University of Alabama.

"I was quite proud of how cool I stayed because it would have been quite easy to get upset at my bogeys on the 13th and 15th."

Fasth leaked two double bogies in the last three holes and Sluman bogeyed the last, needing a birdie to force a play-off.

Meanwhile, defending champion Colin Montgomerie carded a final-round 66 to finish on five under overall after a disappointing 74 on the third day put him out of contention.

Final-round leaderboard (GB&Ire unless stated):

14 under Graeme McDowell (67)
13 under Trevor Immelman (Rsa) (67),
12 under Jeff Sluman (US) (69), Henrik Bjornstad (Swe) (67)
11 under Carl Pettersson Swe) (68)
10 under Gary Evans (66), Matthew Cort (67), Adam Scott (Aus) (67), Niclas Fasth (Swe) (71)

Selected others:

6 under Jesper Parnevik (Swe) (70)
5 under Colin Montgomerie (66)
3 under Thomas Bjorn (Den) (69)

BBC Five Live's Norman Dabell
"One of the bravest performances for many a moon"
This week's golf from around the world

Scandinavian Masters

The International

Curtis Cup

Norwegian Open

Wendy's Champ'ship

See also:

18 Dec 01 | Golf
12 Aug 01 | Golf
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