French Open: Graeme McDowell targets third win in a row

Graeme McDowell won the French Open in 2013 and 2014
Graeme McDowell is 48th in the world rankings

Graeme McDowell will this week attempt to become the first player in 77 years to win three French Opens in a row.

No player has achieved the feat in continental Europe's oldest Open since Marcel Dallemagne in 1938.

Northern Irishman McDowell, 35, would also become only the sixth player to claim a hat-trick of European Tour titles in the same event.

"Having a chance to win three in a row is very special," said McDowell. "I have always enjoyed this golf course."

McDowell, who won by four shots in 2013, overturned an eight-shot deficit in the final round last year thanks to a brilliant closing 67.

Hat-trick heroes
Only Ian Woosnam, Sir Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els have won the same European Tour event three times.

American Kevin Stadler's four-shot overnight lead disappeared with 41 on the front nine, and he missed a par putt on the 18th which would have forced a play-off.

"The two wins were obviously very different," said 2010 US Open champion McDowell.

"You always like to win a tournament, as opposed to being given it to a certain extent.

"From that point of view, I guess 2013 was a bit more special than 2014. But winning a tournament back to back is also very special."

Recent French Open winners
2014: Graeme McDowell (NI)
2013: Graeme McDowell
2012: Marcel Siem (Ger)
2011: Thomas Levet (Fra)
2010: Miguel Angel Jiminez (Spa)

McDowell has recorded only one top-10 finish on the European Tour in 2015, in the Dubai Desert Classic at the start of February, and missed the cut in the US Open at Chambers Bay in his most recent tournament.

The venue for the French Open, Le Golf National, will host the Ryder Cup in 2018, and McDowell believes his record there could help secure his involvement on the European team.

"I will be pushing 40, so at least I will perhaps be a good call for an invite for a wild card pick," McDowell joked.

"If I don't make the team off my own merit, being a little bit of a course specialist around here, certainly I will be expecting to be part of things."