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Golf | European Tour

Graeme McDowell © Gallo Images

McDowell seeks boost ahead of Open



Graeme McDowell is hoping a trip to France this week will give his golf game the boost it badly needs ahead of the Open Championship at Muirfield, Scotland, which starts on July 18.

The 2010 US Open winner has signed up for the European Tour's French Open following another missed cut, this time on home turf at last week's Irish Open at Maynooth.

The early weekend at Carton House was the fifth in his last six strokeplay events for the 33-year-old.

He also missed the cut at The Masters, US Open and Players Championship this season, but on the plus side he can count two wins - at the RBC Heritage, the week after Augusta, and the Volvo World Match Play crown in Bulgaria.

"Obviously that Volvo World Match Play offsets some really average golf for me I suppose," McDowell told reporters at Le Golf National outside of Versailles.

"I feel like I went into the US Open a bit under golfed to be honest with you; (with) a few missed cuts here and there and playing a slightly reduced schedule this year.

"I really just haven't had enough course time the last couple of months and that was highlighted at the US Open (he shot rounds of 76 and 77 at Merion) and it was highlighted a little bit last week in Ireland, missing by one there.

"I thought I had snuck in for the weekend and I could have done with a couple of extra rounds of golf under my belt, but used the weekend constructively, hit a lot of balls.

"I feel like, thankfully, I've got a couple of victories under the belt this year to offset maybe the panic button being hit. It is a good thing to be coming into this run of golf fresh I suppose, I've got a lot of golf coming up here the next few months.

"The game's not in terrible shape to be honest with you. It's been a fine line here and there. The motivation's there and I'm feeling hungry and ready to go this summer."

McDowell is one of three players in the world's top 10 competing in Paris, the world No 9 being joined by eighth-ranked Luke Donald of England and No 5 Matt Kuchar of the United States.

It was a tournament that Kuchar said he had been keen to compete in for a number of years.

"I've never been to France before and I don't know anybody that doesn't fantasise, romanticise about going to Paris. I talked to some players about the golf tournament here and they said it is one of the best courses they play all year," he said.

"So there were a lot of things that said I really ought to come. This year it worked out, and the timing's been great.

"We are going to go down to the south of France for a little vacation (after the tournament) and then I'll make my way up to Scotland a few days before the British to start preparing."

Germany's Marcel Siem will be the defending champion at Versailles.

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