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Graeme McDowell heading home after securing coveted British Open spot at RBC Canadian Open

June 9, 2019

Graeme McDowell did his best to put Royal Portrush and next month’s British Open out of his mind, and now he can. Or at least he can stop worrying about getting there because his ticket is officially punched.

McDowell shot a two-under 68 in the final round of the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday to finish 10 under overall and tie for 8th. As a part of the British Open qualifying series, the top-three finishers in the top 10 not already exempt into the Open get invites. McDowell snatched one up.

It was a big accomplishment for the 39-year-old Northern Irishman. McDowell hasn’t played in a British Open since 2016, but this year’s is at Royal Portrush in Portrush, Northern Ireland, his hometown.

“I feel like I’ve had three or four months wrestling with the Portrush dilemma,” McDowell said on Friday. “But I’m pretty much come to terms with the fact that if I play well between now and Portrush I will play. If I don’t play well between now and Portrush I won’t and I’ll deserve not to play.”

On Sunday, McDowell made two birdies and 16 pars for a clean 68. He capped his round with a 29-foot par save on the 18th green.

“It’s really been a journey since Bay Hill this year, one of the first tournaments that had some spots for the Open Championship,” McDowell told CBS reporter Amanda Balionis after his round on Sunday. “I kinda feel like I have been battling those emotions ever since. Coming into this week with some spots available at the RBC Canadian Open people have bene reminding me all week. Every hole out there was like, ‘Hope you get to Portrush! Hope you get to the Open!’ So there was no chance that I was going to shove that to the back of my mind, but it was nice to play decent enough to get it done today.”

The British Open is July 18-21.

“I feel hugely relieved,” McDowell said. “Just to play a small part in getting the Open back to Royal Portrush was one of the prouder moments in my career, and it would have been extremely bittersweet for me not to be playing in the field.”