‘Card-wrecker’ on 11th costs McDowell shot at Open

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LYTHAM ST. ANNES, ENGLAND (AP) - Graeme McDowell sat hunched over with his elbows on his knees as his cart traveled the wrong way along the 11th fairway.

“I was thinking, `That wasn’t very good,’” he said, “`that wasn’t very smart, and there goes my Open Championship.’”

Needing to play his second shot like the U.S. Open champion he was in 2010, he instead played it like a Sunday-morning hacker.

From the middle of the fairway, he duck-hooked a hybrid 150 yards straight into the trees on the left, only narrowly missing hitting a bunched gallery.

McDowell trawled through the deep rough and picked his way through the shrubs with his caddie, Ken Comboy, and the host of spotters. But the ball was lost.

So was his British Open.

McDowell hopped onto the back of a cart and was driven back up the fairway to retake the shot.

“It’s the longest walk in golf, and believe me, the cart ride doesn’t make it feel any shorter,” McDowell said. “It was gone for me.”

The Northern Irishman wound up bogeying the hole, his fourth dropped shot of the round, and fell to 3 under. It left him six shots behind playing partner Adam Scott, who was poised to win the claret jug.

McDowell had the best seat in the house as the Australian threw it all away, bogeying the last four holes in one of the biggest meltdowns in the history of major golf.

McDowell consoled Scott as the pair shook hands on the 18th green.

“It was tough to say anything to him that was going to be of any relevance,” McDowell said. “I said he’s a great champion and I said there’s many majors ahead for him. It’s just a tough beat.”

McDowell paused for breath as he described how he was feeling as Scott collapsed right in front of his eyes.

“It’s hard to watch. It’s hard to watch a guy do that,” McDowell said. “When you hit a second shot (like his) on No. 17 and the alarm bell started to ring, I thought, `Hold on, we’ve got a problem here.’”

“That putt on No. 16 which horseshoed on him was the start of a series of events that he’ll think about a lot tonight.”

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