An­other win at World goes to Mcdow­ell

He holds off Bradley to earn his sec­ond vic­tory in three years at the event.

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - Bret Hart­man / ap

Graeme McDow­ell kept try­ing to con­vince him­self and ev­ery­one else that his game was im­prov­ing, even though he had gone two years with­out a tro­phy to prove it.

That’s what made Sun­day at Sher­wood Coun­try Club, in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif., so sweet.

With a pair of su­perb short-game shots on the back nine, McDow­ell closed with a 4-un­der 68 to win the World Chal­lenge by three shots over Kee­gan Bradley, al­low­ing him to head home for a 10-week break with a shot of con­fi­dence.

“It’s been too long. It’s been a hell of a two years since I sat here as a win­ner,” McDow­ell said. “We all put win­ning up on a pedestal as the ul­ti­mate goal. We like to say that it’s all about the process and go­ing through the mo­tions and try­ing to get bet­ter. But let’s be hon­est. We all mea­sure our­selves by the win. I can say that now.”

The three-shot mar­gin made it look eas­ier than it was.

Sher­wood was play­ing longer than ever in a light rain, giv­ing an ad­van­tage to a big hit­ter like Bradley, not to men­tion tour­na­ment host Tiger Woods. Even when McDow­ell built a four-shot lead through 11 holes, a care­less three-putt bo­gey on the 13th brought Bradley within two shots with five holes to play.

McDow­ell re­sponded with a 75-foot putt that he lagged to tap-in range, a key moment for some­one coming off a three-putt bo­gey. From a pre­car­i­ous spot be­hind the 17th green, he had to land his chip in the rough and hope it would hop onto the fringe and not run to far by the hole. He pulled it off per­fectly.

“It was an inch away from stick­ing in the fringe, and about 1⁄16th of an inch away from go­ing in the hole,” he said.

He made one last birdie he didn’t need, ex­tend­ing his dom­i­nance at Sher­wood. It was the 10th time in 12 rounds at Sher­wood that McDow­ell has shot in the 60s, and he now has two wins and a run­ner-up fin­ish in his three trips to the World Chal­lenge.

“This really caps off my sea­son,” McDow­ell said. “We try not to put win­ning on a pedestal, but this one feels very sweet be­cause it’s been a grind all year.”

McDow­ell won for the first time since he beat Woods in a play­off at Sher­wood to close out a dream sea­son in 2010 that in­cluded his first ma­jor at the U.S. Open and the win­ning point for Europe at the Ry­der Cup.

Ned­bank Chal­lenge: Martin Kaymer of Ger­many shot a 3-un­der 69 to earn his first ti­tle of 2012, hold­ing on for a two-shot vic­tory in rainy con­di­tions in Sun City, South Africa.

Kaymer fin­ished at 8un­der 280, two ahead of Charl Schwartzel (69) of South Africa. Bill Haas of the United States was third af­ter a 71.

Schwartzel’s bo­gey on No. 17 helped Kaymer’s cause.

South African Louis Oosthuizen (74) was fourth. Two-time de­fend­ing cham­pion Lee Westwood’s run at Sun City ended with a 73, seven shots be­hind the win­ner.

PGA qual­i­fy­ing school: Aus­tralia’s Steven Bowditch shot an 8-un­der 64 on PGA West’s Jack Nick­laus Tour­na­ment Course to take a on­e­stroke lead af­ter the fifth round of the PGA Tour qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment in La Quinta, Calif.

Bowditch had a 23un­der 337 to­tal in the sixround event. The fi­nal top 25 and ties will re­ceive 2013 PGA Tour cards and the next 50 and ties will earn Tour cards.

Kris Blanks was sec­ond af­ter a 66, and Derek Ernst (66), Steve Le­Brun (67) and Ed­ward Loar (68) fol­lowed at 21 un­der. They also played the Nick­laus course.

The qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment’s fi­nal round is sched­uled for to­day.

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