McDowell Clinches US Open

An Northern golfer has made history overnight as the first European US Open champion for 40 years.

Graeme McDowell clinched his first major title in impressive fashion at Pebble Beach.

Commentators said the Portrush man held his nerve to become the first European to win the prestigious title for 40 years.

McDowell is the first Ulsterman to complete the feat in 63 years when Fred Daly won the British Open in 1967.

Watched by his father - appropriately as Father's Day was marked around the western world - he held off Gregory Havret by one shot in the nailbiting final round.

The 30-year-old said: "It's an absolute dream come true, I've dreamed about this all my life."

Graeme held off world number one Tiger Woods, number two Phil Mickelson, twice champion Ernie Els and Gregory Havret of France to raise the trophy on Sunday, getting a victory hug on the 18th green from his father, Kenny.

"My father said there's only thing I wanted for Father's Day, and I wasn't quite sure whether I was going to be able to deliver that," McDowell, 30, told reporters after ending a 40-year title drought for Europeans at the US Open.

Mr McDowell, who was second overnight, regained a share of top spot when playing partner Johnson dropped three shots on the second hole and, as the American fell further behind, the European Ryder Cup star was never again headed.

The Portrush native, who went to college in America, becomes the first NI man to win a major since Fred Daly clinched the Open at Hoylake in 1947.

And he is the first player from the United Kingdom to win a major since Paul Lawrie triumphed in the Open at Carnoustie in 1999.

Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson and the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have congratulated Graeme McDowell.

Mr Robinson said: "Winning the US Open is an outstanding achievement. I would like to offer Graeme my sincerest congratulations on becoming the first golfer from Northern Ireland to win a major since 1947. I am sure that there will be more major victories to come."

Mr McGuinness said: "Graeme has once again shown that our local sporting talent is of a world class standard. Graeme's cool calm and collected manner led him to a sensational victory last night at Pebble Beach.

"I too would like to offer my congratulation to Graeme and all his team on a job well done."


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