McDowell hopes to make last-minute charge in money race in Hong Kong

graeme mcdowell
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Graeme McDowell received a giant golf ball in Hong Kong this week; he hopes to capture an even bigger prize next week in Dubai.
By
Gary Rose
PA Sport

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Graeme McDowell plans to build on a recent run of form at the UBS Hong Kong Open this week and give himself the best possible chance of winning the European Tour’s seasonlong Race to Dubai.

The Northern Irishman trails Martin Kaymer by about $500,000 after finishing third at the Barclays Singapore Open and can further eat into the German's advantage with another good performance in the European Tour's penultimate tournament of the season at Hong Kong Golf Club.

Victory would certainly boost his chances of being crowned Europe's No. 1 at next week's Dubai World Championship, especially given that Kaymer has decided to skip this event.

"This is a very important week, Martin's not playing this week and it's a golf course where I have performed pretty well in the past," said McDowell.

"It's important that I get as close as I possibly can going into Dubai next week and like I say, with Martin not being here this week, it's an opportunity to put some more numbers on the board,” he added. "The game is in good shape coming off the back of a decent week last week in Singapore and I'm very much looking forward to the week."

Joining McDowell in Hong Kong are the likes of defending champion Gregory Bourdy and fellow Ryder Cup stars Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, with the Englishman no doubt hoping to erase the memory of a disappointing end to the weather-affected Singapore Open.

When the fourth and final round was suspended until Monday after a lengthy suspension due to thunderstorms, Poulter trailed leader Adam Scott by just three strokes with 10 holes remaining. However, he struggled upon the resumption of play, carding a bogey and a double bogey on the back nine to finish in a share of sixth place.

Poulter was at a loss to explain that sudden drop in form, but is confident he will be back to his best in Hong Kong.

"It was a disappointing week," said Poulter. "I really should have capitalized on the good shots I hit. My score was no reflection on how I played.

I had 14 birdie opportunities after the fourth hole, which was my last birdie. Not to make one of those is more than disappointing,” he explained. "We'll just bring that into this week and last week is over. It's out of my mind, I'm over it, and I move on."

Bourdy, meanwhile, has not won on the European Tour since lifting the UBS Hong Kong Open trophy 12 months ago, holding off the challenge of McIlroy to win by two strokes.

"I love this tournament and when we see all the big names on the trophy, I am very proud to see mine and I will try my best to repeat what I did last year," said the Frenchman. "I feel very good here in Hong Kong and it's my favorite city in China. I love this atmosphere and I will try my best and to win again this year."