Graeme McDowell and Keegan Bradley Battle in World Challenge

UPDATE – Golf-McDowell holds off Bradley to win World Challenge

* McDowell wins World Challenge for a second time

* Ends victory drought of two years

* Tournament host Woods ties for fourth

Graeme McDowell continued his love affair with California by winning for the first time in two years when he held off playing partner Keegan Bradley to clinch the World Challenge by three shots on Sunday.

The Northern Irishman, who had endured a title drought since his playoff victory here over tournament host Tiger Woods in 2010, ended his 2012 campaign on a triumphant note as he closed with a four-under-par 68 to post a 17-under total of 271.

Though McDowell survived a few anxious moments over the closing stretch at a rain-soaked Sherwood Country Club, he rebounded from a bogey at the 13th with birdies at the 16th and the par-four last to keep Bradley at bay.

McDowell, who won his first major title in the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in Northern California, coolly sank a six-footer on the 18th green to claim the winner’s cheque for $1 million with his fiancée Kristin Stape looking on.

“I’m just over the moon to kind of get the job done,” McDowell told reporters after improving his remarkable World Challenge record to two wins and a runner-up spot in three starts.

“Its been too long. Its been a hell of a two years since I sat here as a winner, and we all put winning kind of up on a pedestal as the ultimate goal.

Bradley finished second after signing off with a 69. American Bo Van Pelt (70) was alone in third at 10 under, a stroke better than compatriots Rickie Fowler (69), Jim Furyk (70) and five-times champion Woods 71.

More at UPDATE 1-Golf-McDowell holds off Bradley to win World Challenge – Chicago Tribune

Keegan Bradley called ‘cheater’

Keegan Bradley was heckled by a spectator on Saturday because he uses a belly putter and an anchored stroke that golf’s ruling bodies have deemed to be illegal — although the rule will not go into effect for three more years.

“I had some guy here call me a cheater on the last hole, which was no fun,” said Bradley, who is two shots behind leader Graeme McDowell at the World Challenge presented by Northwestern Mutual.

“That’s unfortunate. It’s very disrespectful. But it’s fine with me. I’ve got to try and look at it as motivation to help me try to win this tournament.”

Bradley is going to be at the forefront of the anchored debate because he became the first player to win a major championship using a belly putter when he captured the 2011 PGA Championship.

Bradley does not agree with the United States Golf Association and R&A, which on Wednesday announced a proposal to ban anchored strokes.

On Sunday, the USGA denounced the heckling of Bradley.

“This is a deplorable incident and there is no place in our game for this kind of behavior,” the USGA said. “… It has been and remains entirely within the rules of golf for players to anchor the club while making a stroke. There should not be a shred of criticism of such players or any qualification or doubt about their achievements, and we think that it is inappropriate even to suggest anything to the contrary.

“Rule changes address the future and not the past. Up until now and until such time as a rule change were to be implemented, golfers using an anchored stroke will have been playing by the rules of golf.”…

More at Keegan Bradley called ‘cheater’ – ESPN

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland poses with his trophy after winning the World Challenge golf tournament in Thousand Oaks, California, December 2, 2012. REUTERS-Danny Moloshok

(Reuters) – Graeme McDowell continued his love affair with California by winning for the first time in two years when he held off playing partner Keegan Bradley to clinch the World Challenge by three shots on Sunday.

More at McDowell holds off Bradley to win World Challenge – Reuters

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