G-Mac to battle on in desert
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Graeme McDowell is hoping for an upturn in his fortunes at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship when he faces Heath Slocum.
The 31-year-old is currently enjoying the best spell of his professional career and has risen to fourth in the world rankings, with two top-three finishes already this term.
The Northern Irishman claimed his first major last year with victory at Pebble Beach in the US Open and he has gone from strength to strength, capping an amazing year by sealing the point that gave Europe the Ryder Cup last October.
The Portrush star's record in team golf stands comparison with the best as he has won 15 of the 21 matches he has played in the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup and Seve Trophy.
But he has struggled as an individual in Arizona over the past four years, despite putting in some decent performances.
McDowell does not believe he has played that badly at the event but has just run into players who performed better on the day.
"I look back at the last two years and I've had my clubs in their flight bag at 12.30 on day one," he said. "You start to think that this is the worst event in the world, but I have actually played pretty well the last couple of years and shot the equivalent of 67s and just gone home.
"Some other guys have shot 73s and managed to win."
Wednesday's opponent, Slocum, is ranked 60th out of the 64 players in the field this week but McDowell does not read too much into that and will afford the American as much respect as if he was playing a top 10 star.
"Heath is a very solid player and he is the sort of guy who is going to make me go out and win the match," he added. "He is not going to be throwing shots away and giving me easy holes."