Graeme McDowell: My career is off and running after US Open triumph

• Northern Irishman wins first major after finishing on level par
• 'I think I've died and gone to heaven'

Graeme McDowell hugs the US Open trophy at Pebble Beach
Graeme McDowell hugs the US Open trophy at Pebble Beach. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Graeme McDowell claimed his career was "off and running" after he last night won the US Open at Pebble Beach.

The 30-year-old, from Portrush, Northern Ireland, defeated France's Grégory Havret by one stroke at level par to add his name to the list of champions, not least the former Pebble Beach winners Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite and current world No1, Tiger Woods. In doing so, he also became the first European to win the US Open in 40 years.

"There's not too many bad golfers on this trophy," McDowell said. "To join an elite list of names, I mean, careers are defined by major championships and my career's off and running today. It's a surreal feeling for me, but I feel ready to go.

"I'm playing the golf of my life right now and to pick up this trophy, I don't know, I'm not sure how much partying I'm going to do over the next three months. I should sober up pre-Ryder Cup at some point, but I'm looking forward to celebrating this one and it's a cool feeling."

McDowell had been the 36-hole leader at Pebble Beach but started the final round three strokes behind the American Dustin Johnson after losing a third-round duel with the big hitter.

Johnson, though, folded quickly on the last day, triple-bogeying the 2nd hole and then double-bogeying the 3rd as the Northern Irishman played steadily, not dropping a shot until the 9th.

And even as he began to unravel a little, so too were Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, one by one falling off the pace until McDowell went to the last with a one-shot lead over Havret.

As he watched from the 18th fairway, Havret missed a birdie putt on the famous par-five closing hole, instead taking par and leaving McDowell to get up and down for victory.

He laid up his second shot to 100 yards from the hole, pitched on to the green and two-putted from 20 feet to seal a major at his 19th attempt, the first European to win a US Open since Tony Jacklin and the second Portrush man to win a major after 1947 Open winner Fred Daly.

"It was a great day," he said. "I stuck to my gameplan, did my job. I bogeyed nine and 10, and for the first time I had a look up at the leaderboard walking off 10, and I saw I was two in front. I really played good on the back nine, made some great swings, hit some really nice putts.

"I think I've died and gone to heaven for sure. This can't be really real and I don't think this will ever sink in."

Final-round scores from the US Open (US unless stated)

284 G McDowell (NI) 71 68 71 74. 285 G Havret (Fr) 73 71 69 72. 286 E Els (SA) 73 68 72 73. 287; P Mickelson 75 66 73 73; T Woods 74 72 66 75. 288 D Love III 75 74 68 71; M Kuchar 74 72 74 68. 289 D Johnson 71 70 66 82; M Kaymer (Ger) 74 71 72 72; B Snedeker 75 74 69 71; A Cejka (Ger) 70 72 74 73. 290 S O'Hair 76 71 70 73; T Clark (SA) 72 72 72 74. 291 J Leonard 72 73 73 73; B Curtis 78 70 75 68. 292; P Hanson (Swe) 73 76 74 69; S Langley 75 69 77 71; C Schwartzel (SA) 74 71 74 73; J Furyk 72 75 74 71; R Henley 73 74 72 73; L Westwood (Eng) 74 71 76 71. 293 S García (Sp) 73 76 73 71; A Cabrera (Arg) 75 72 74 72; J Mallinger 77 72 70 74; P Harrington (Ire) 73 73 74 73; S Micheel 69 77 75 72. 294 R Karlsson (Swe) 75 72 74 73; R Barnes 72 76 74 72. 295 R Allenby (Aus) 74 74 73 74; T Watson 78 71 70 76; H Stenson (Swe) 77 70 74 74; S Appleby (Aus) 73 76 76 70. 296 R Ishikawa (Jpn) 70 71 75 80; S Kjeldsen (Den) 72 71 75 78; B De Jonge 69 73 77 77; K Perry 72 77 73 74; J Dufner 72 73 79 72; D Toms 71 75 76 74; R Moore 75 73 75 73. 297 V Singh (Fij) 74 72 75 76; Seung-yul Noh (Kor) 74 72 76 75; P Casey (Eng) 69 73 77 78; B Van Pelt 72 75 82 68; S Cink 76 73 71 77; R Gates 75 74 71 77; R McGowan (Eng) 72 73 78 74. 298 C Stroud 77 72 76 73; Jason Allred 72 73 76 77; T Jaidee (Tha) 74 75 74 75; K J Choi (Kor) 70 73 77 78; I Poulter (Eng) 70 73 77 78; L Donald (Eng) 71 75 74 78; J Herman 76 73 81 68; R Cabrera Bello (Sp) 70 75 81 72; S Verplank 72 74 75 77; J Gore 76 73 74 75; E Molinari (It) 75 72 72 79. 299 S Stricker 75 74 77 73; R Goosen (SA) 75 74 76 74; Y Ikeda (Jpn) 77 72 73 77; L Glover 73 73 77 76; H Fujita (Jpn) 72 77 74 76. 300 J Kelly 72 70 81 77; S Marino 73 75 73 79; E Axley 75 73 75 77; G Maybin (NI) 74 75 76 75; S Wheatcroft 74 73 77 76; T Taniguchi (Jpn) 73 76 76 75. 301 E Justesen 74 74 80 73. 302 D Duval 75 73 74 80; C Villegas (Col) 78 69 79 76; M Bettencourt 72 74 77 79; F Funk 74 72 77 79. 303 K Jones 73 76 78 76; R Davies (Wal) 78 70 79 76. 305 N Watney 76 71 77 81. 306 Z Johnson 72 77 78 79; M Richardson (Eng) 73 75 80 78; C Barlow 73 75 77 81. 307 M Weir (Can) 70 79 83 75; T Tryon 75 74 78 80. 311 J Preeo 75 70 82 84; P Martin (Sp) 73 76 83 79.


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