You might have expected Graham McDowell, to have finished some way down the field, on day one of The Open. After all, it was only last Sunday, that he picked up a healthy winners cheque, for his Scottish Open victory at Loch Lomond. And there is the mental and emotional demand, it takes to win a big European Tour event.
So to be joint-leader, after the wind-swept Birkdale first round, is a supreme effort. It shows that he has the mental strength, to not be satisfied with one victory. But to use success as a springboard to further success.
To build on all the things he has been doing well. To forge a sense of supreme confidence, that means you can play and play, and not feel tired. A player, totally at one with his game. And it suggests, a burning hunger and desire to get better.
Many players might have felt, that they had earned a quiet week, after a tour victory. But when you are on the top of your game, it is wise to not let your high standards slip. For you can’t be sure, when you will find that elusive groove again.
Most pundits dismissed McDowell’s chance of Open success. They presumed that he couldn’t win again, so soon after Loch Lomond. But why not? He knows how to win. And wants to win. If he maintains his standards of focus, concentration and belief, then he could be well-placed, come Sunday evening, to secure a very prestigious win-double.