Albatross for McDowell

By Brian Keogh

Graeme McDowell hit an amazing albatross two on the 563-yard 17th to share fourth place with Padraig Harrington at Valderrama.

But the adrenaline rush he felt after holing a seven-iron from 200 yards cost him at the last as he ran up a costly double bogey six

Par at the 18th would have given McDowell a possible play-off place but he drove into the trees, chipped out sideways and then three-putted from 40 feet for a closing 68 that left him on one over par.

Reflecting on his rollercoaster of emotions, McDowell said: "I hit a horrendous six iron into water on the 17th on Saturday. But I had an average lie in left semi today and it looked like it would fly a little bit.

"I pulled a seven iron and it must have pitched right front edge. I couldn’t see ball going in because my eyesight horrendous. But I heard the roar and it could be one of the best feelings I have ever had."

McDowell shouted "Oh my God" as he threw his eyes to the heavens and then high-fived caddie Ken Comboy and playing partner Soren Kjeldsen.

A long delay on the 18th cost McDowell but he was still looking at the positives after picking up a cheque for €184,800 that boosted him from 50th to 37th in the final Order of Merit with earnings of €789,663.

It was the third albatross of McDowell's European Tour career in the space of four years.

In 2003 he holed a 136-yard wedge shot to the downwind, par-five 18th in the final round of the French Open.

Then two years ago at The K Club's Palmer Course, he holed a 267-yard three-wood at the fourth in the first round of the European Open.

Still sore after his closing six, McDowell said: "The 18th is one of the toughest holes in golf and I've been hitting driver there all week.

"It might have been a little too much club and I am surprised how far into trees it was. I probably gave it a bit of an extra hit.

"Overall it was a great week’s work and I played some great golf. This tournament is like a major. I led on Thursday night, realised I had 54 very diffcult holes to go and I was really happy with way I hung in.

"My game stood up well the last 36 holes and I am really happy with how I hit it. A 68 was my target going out and I hit it. Obviously double on last wasn’t way I wanted to do it."

"I underachieved a little bit this season, but there are some massive positives and I am feeling great about my game."

Up to 13th on the European Ryder Cup Points list, McDowell will play in Hong Kong in two weeks before putting away his clubs for the year.

But he plans to come out with all guns blazing in 2008 in search of his Ryder Cup place.

He said: "This year has been a breakthrough year as far as getting me back on the map a little. I’m looking forward to the next few seasons, obviously the Ryder Cup inext year and this is a nice boost points wise and world rankings and all that good stuff.

"I ‘m just generally excited about what is going on in my game. I’m going to play hong kong, see how we feel this week. I feel like my game is good enough where I’d like to keep playing a bit more. But mentally I’m ready for a little bit of a break."