KAVARNA, Bulgaria (AP) – Graeme McDowell made amends for last year's defeat to capture the World Match-Play Championship on Sunday, defeating Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee 2 and 1 in the final on the Thracian Cliffs course.
The 2010 U.S. Open champion fought back from 2 down after four holes and only edged in front of his 43-year old opponent on the 14th hole before securing the victory at the 17th.
It was McDowell's second win in three events after he also captured the PGA Tour's RBC Heritage earlier this month at Hilton Head, S.C.
“It's been a nice day and nice to receive a great trophy,'' McDowell said. “We have talked all week about the prestige of this event and how many great champions have won this tournament, and it's just nice to add my name to that list of legends.''
McDowell move to top of the European Tour money list and will also move up one place to No. 7 on the world rankings.
The Northern Irishman advanced to the final by defeating Branden Grace of South Africa 3 and 2 in the semifinals earlier in the day. He needed the qualities that allowed him to play on two Ryder Cup-winning teams.
Having fought back to win No. 7, McDowell appeared to feel Thongchai was tiring and made his move to win Nos. 12, 14 and 15th.
“I thought when Thongchai went 2 up after four holes that this wasn't the script I had read,'' said McDowell. “But then after winning the seventh and managing to halve nine and 10, I felt good. I felt like I was starting to get in control and I sensed Thongchai was weakening, and I just sensed an opening and I just seized that opening.''
Thongchai, who defeated Thomas Aiken of South Africa 3 and 2 to reach the final, has jumped 24 places to seventh on the Race to Dubai.
“I am very happy and had a very good week,'' Thongchai said. “I made only one mistake in the final on the 14th hole after a poor drive. But it was a good tournament for me. My game is very solid. “I came here of course to win, and to come second I am very proud and satisfied as it is a good result for me.
“I did get very tired this afternoon, but more importantly I enjoyed the tournament.''