McDowell win closes the gap on Stenson

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland hits a ball from 9th fairway during the final round of the HSBC Champions golf tournament at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013.  (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland hits a ball from 9th fairway during the final round of the HSBC Champions golf tournament at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Graeme McDowell closed the gap on Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson to under 150,000 euros courtesy of his third place finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

The 2010 major champion finished with a final round 66 but could not overhaul eventual winner, Dustin Johnson, who also closed with a 66.

“I’m happy from a Race to Dubai point of view, the way I played this week, cuts into Henrik’s lead a little bit,” said Graeme.

“As long as Henrik doesn’t do anything too unsensible next week in Turkey, I’ll have a good shot going into Dubai.

“It bodes well for the tournament. You know, this is what we want going into The Race to Dubai.

“This is what the Dubai World Championship is all about, having quality players with a chance to win, not only the tournament, but the Money List and The Race to Dubai for the year.”

The recently-married Portrush man will skip the third leg of the European Tour’s Final Series, next week’s Turkish Airlines Open.

“I’ll be fresh. I’ll be ready in Dubai whatever happens, and you know, like I say, I’m just trying to give myself a shot going into Dubai,” he added.

“Obviously there is a pang of disappointment, but generally just very proud of myself the way I played this week, tee to green especially.

“On the greens, room for improvement. But I didn’t make a bogey all weekend.

“I shot 14 under on the weekend. Dustin Johnson was in a different league off the tee and gave us a little bit of a sniff and then promptly slammed the door.”

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy was pleased to secure his place in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai with a sixth-placed finish in Shanghai.

McIlroy went into the tournament needing to climb from 62nd in the money list and put more pressure on himself by deciding not to play in next week’s Turkish Airlines Open.

Although he failed to pressure eventual winner Dustin Johnson, McIlroy’s closing round of 69 was enough for a good pay-day and a move up to a safe 38th place in the Race to Dubai.

“It was a good week. It was a step in the right direction for sure,” said McIlroy.

“I don’t think anyone could have competed with Dustin this week. He played very, very well and obviously is a deserved champion.

“It’s probably one of my only bogey-free rounds of the year but it just didn’t contain enough birdies.”

McIlroy on closing 69

“I just didn’t make enough birdies. I didn’t take advantage of the par fives today and some of the short par fours.”