Northern Ireland

Portrush golf club celebrates Graeme McDowell Open win

Graeme McDowell
Image caption McDowell is a five-time winner on the European Tour

Graeme McDowell's home club has been celebrating his US Open win.

Family and friends of the County Antrim golfer packed the clubhouse at Rathmore to watch the 30-year-old win a major, the first Northern Ireland golfer to do so, since Fred Daly back in 1947.

He secured his victory, one shot ahead of Frenchman Gregory Havret.

Speaking afterwards, McDowell said the pressure had been great.

"It's so difficult to win a golf tournament, let alone a major championship and great playing from Greg today.

"You know, he played fantastic golf the last couple of days and I'm just so thrilled to get over the line."

Gary McDowell said his brother had been "phenomenal".

"What he did was hard to believe and everyone is so proud of him.

Over the moon

"The fact he's my brother makes me even more proud of him. I can't explain how actually proud of him we are.

"He hasn't come down to the ground yet. He hasn't let go of that US open trophy, he's just over the moon.

Image caption McDowell also won the Wales Open two weeks ago

"I know he won five major European tournaments but winning the major, opens so many more gates for him. I'd say he's good enough to go on and win another two or three."

Graeme's niece Courtney Dinsmore said it was "nerve-wracking" watching her uncle with friends at the club.

"It was the best atmosphere, I can't describe it.

"I was texting everybody and updating Facebook. It was unreal how many people were backing Graeme over here.

"He never forgets about home. The first thing that goes through his mind is just getting home and spending time with his family.

"There's always a party to look forward to, when he's back."

Colin Walker is captain at Rathmore golf club.

'Unbelievable'

"What a journey. As we went through it last night, the emotions were high."

Graeme's dad, Kenny who travelled to Pebble Beach in California for the tournament said it was a fantastic gift for Father's Day.

"Unbelievable, it's been an unbelievable week. I mean as he said himself, it hasn't really sunk in yet.

"He says 'I'm sitting here, I'm in a daze, sitting with the cup and its got all these big names on it, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, me,' so it just hasn't sunk in."

McDowell is the first European to win the US Open for forty years.