x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

McDowell 'feeling good' heading for Dubai showdown

The US Open winner narrows gap on Kaymer and believes he has hit top form at just the right time to clinch the Race to Dubai.

Graeme McDowell hits out of a bunker during the final round of the Hong Kong Open yesterday.
Graeme McDowell hits out of a bunker during the final round of the Hong Kong Open yesterday.

Graeme McDowell believes he has hit top form at just the right time to clinch the Race to Dubai.

The US Open winner finished fifth in the Hong Kong Open yesterday to close the gap on Martin Kaymer, the European money leader, to US$214,000 (Dh786,000) ahead of next week's season-ending Dubai World Championship.

And he said: "I'm within touching distance now of next week. I've got to play well next week, simple as that. Martin, I can't control his ball, I can only control mine. I'm going to go in there next week and try to play my own game.

"I have a few things to brush up on before Thursday, but all in all, I'm driving the ball great, which is the key to next week and I'm feeling really good about my game."

England's Ian Poulter held off the challenge of Matteo Manassero, the Italian youngster, to win by a single stroke in Hong Kong and return to the top 10 in the world rankings.

Manassero, 17, completed a final round eight-under 62, but Poulter's 67 was enough to clinch his 10th win on the European Tour with a 22-under total of 258.

"I felt comfortable the whole day, the way I was hitting it," Poulter said. "I was hitting it inside 12 feet at pretty much nearly every hole out there and I knew if I kept doing that I would be very tough to beat."

England's Simon Dyson tied for second after a 65, while American Anthony Kang was another stroke back in fourth.

While the win puts him back into the top 10 in the world rankings, Poulter is not going to make any more brash predictions about getting to No 1. Poulter said in early 2008 that when he reached his full potential, he was the only golfer who could challenge Tiger Woods, the then rankings leader, for the top spot.

But with Lee Westwood having taken over from Woods as No 1, Poulter is decidedly more low-key about his own prospects.

"I'm not going to play the game of saying I'm going to get to No 1," he said. "I tried that once before and it didn't work, so I think I'll just try and win next week and see how high I go."

* Agency