Missed putt costs McDowell dear in race for No 1 spot

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The Independent Online

It may prove to be the most expensive putt of Graeme McDowell's life but the Ulsterman put a brave face on a disappointing end to the Singapore Open yesterday. In hot pursuit of Martin Kaymer in the European Tour's Race to Dubai, McDowell struck a superb second onto the green at Sentosa Golf Club's par-five finishing hole, leaving him with two putts for a birdie and a share of second place behind Adam Scott.

However, the US Open champion left his eagle putt well short and then fluffed his crucial birdie chance from eight feet, leaving him with a three-putt par and tied for third with Sweden's Rikard Karlberg.

The missed birdie putt cost McDowell ¤130,000 (£110,000) in prize money and left Germany's Kaymer with a cushion of more than ¤368,000 with two events left on the calendar. The European Tour 2010 season culminates in the ¤5.5m Dubai World Championship, and ¤5.5m more is divided between the top 15 players in the Race to Dubai standings.

"I was disappointed to have finished on a sour note," said McDowell. "I hit two decent shots and walked off with a five but that's golf. It has been a very productive week and I would have accepted that." The Northern Irishman will have the chance to eat into Kaymer's lead some more this week at the Hong Kong Open, which the German has decided to skip. "It's still a great week for me. I'm playing in Hong Kong and Martin is not," said McDowell. "I'm still very happy with my game, very positive about how I've been swinging the club this week and I hope to take this great form to Hong Kong."

Scott cruised to a three-shot victory to become the first three-time winner of the weather-hit event after five and a half hours of thunderstorms had forced the tournament to run into a fifth day.

The Australian finished the co-sanctioned tournament on 17-under-par, with Denmark's Anders Hansen second. The victory lifted the 30-year-old into the world's top 20, after his rise of 21 places from 41st. The win was Scott's seventh on the European Tour and first since the Qatar Masters in 2008.

"It's a new experience for me as it's the first time I've won an event three times," said Scott. "I'm very proud to win the National Open and these are the kind of events that you dream of winning when you're growing up as a kid.

"I haven't been putting my best lately and the demons started creeping in a little bit on the back nine. But fortunately I squashed them and made a good putt on 15. That gave me a little buffer and calmed me down for the last three holes."