Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach to contend for US Open prize

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland reacts to a shot on the 18th green during a practice round prior to the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland reacts to a shot on the 18th green during a practice round prior to the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links

Graeme McDowell insists he will not be content to simply enjoy a trip down memory lane as he returns to the scene of his US Open triumph at Pebble Beach.

McDowell took advantage of a collapse from 54-hole leader Dustin Johnson nine years ago to win his first major by a single shot from France’s Gregory Havret, with Ernie Els third and Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson sharing fourth place.

The 39-year-old will partner Johnson and Mickelson in the first two rounds on the Monterey Peninsula this week and comes into the event with a win under his belt this season and having qualified for the Open in his home town of Portrush on Sunday.

“Four or five months ago if you told me I’d be playing the first two rounds here with Dustin and Phil, with the way my game was, I would have been intimidated,” McDowell said.

“But with the victory (in the Dominican Republic in March) and some good finishes, the confidence is coming back and I feel very good about my game.

“It goes without saying I won once around here, I obviously feel like my game suits this golf course.

“And I’m certainly not here to take the views in as much as I’m here to compete.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of trying to dissect this golf course and getting myself in position to contend this weekend.

“I’ve been working hard on my game the last couple of years and one of my big goals is to get myself back there on the back nine on Sunday afternoon in the not too distant future.

“I’d love another run at the top of the game, get myself back in the top 50 in the world and see if I can maybe get another big one (title) before it’s all said and done.”