PLAYA DEL CARMEN (Mexico) • Graeme McDowell hopes his first PGA Tour victory in more than two years can act as a springboard to Major championship glory after he clinched a play-off victory in the weather-hit OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
The Northern Irishman has endured a miserable year, failing to post a top-10 finish while watching his world ranking slide as low as 80th, way down from his peak position of fourth in 2011.
But the 2010 US Open champion wiped away the disappointment when play resumed at the El Camaleon Golf Club on Monday, winning a three-way play-off to defeat American Jason Bohn and Scotland's Russell Knox.
The trio finished the regulation 72 holes at 18-under 266.
McDowell had closed with a five-under 66, Knox with a matching 66 and Bohn with a 68.
"It really gives me something to grab onto," said McDowell, who had not won on the PGA Tour since the RBC Heritage in April 2013. "You go through a year like this and you think 'Am I finished? Am I not good enough?'
"You ask yourself all the questions, we've all been there.
"I've been dreaming of this day. And I said to myself that I was going to appreciate it when it came - and I'm going to appreciate this one let me tell you, because this year's been a grind. This is special.
"This is a nice step back to where I want to be. Because I want to be back up there, winning more Major championships."
McDowell sealed the win after very nearly holing out with a five-iron on the first extra hole, his approach shot grazing the rim of the cup before finishing just three feet away. The 36-year-old tapped in for birdie at the par-four 18th to edge out both Knox and Bohn.
McDowell advanced to the play-off after a nervy final few holes as the final round was completed early on Monday.
He three-putted the 16th and then rolled in a tricky 10-foot putt to save par on the final hole.
Knox, who had been bidding for back-to-back victories after winning the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai this month, saw his dream of victory falter after he bogeyed the last hole in regulation.
"I gave it my best shot and got beat by a great birdie there," the 30-year-old, who had led by one stroke with just one hole to play in regulation, said of McDowell's stunning approach on the first extra hole.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS