PGA Tour

McDowell grabs lead in Mexico

2015-11-14 06:50
Graeme McDowell (AP)

Playa del Carmen - Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell fired nine birdies in an impressive eight-under par 63 on Friday to grab the lead in the US PGA Tour's OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

McDowell, playing the early-season event in Mexico as well as next week's McGladrey Classic in a bid to bounce back from a disastrous 2014-15 campaign, had a 12-under par total of 130 and a one-shot lead over American Derek Fathauer.

Fathauer carded a five-under par 66 for 131.

He was one stroke in front of South Korean Kim Si-Woo, who posted a 64 and American Harold Varner, who had 10 birdies in a sizzling nine-under par 62.

McDowell teed off on 10 and his four birdies in his first nine holes included three straight at 16, 17 and 18.

His only bogey of the day came at the par-four first -- where he took double-bogey on Thursday.

But he came back with a vengeance, with birdies at the next four holes and five of his next six.

"My iron play has been really solid and my putter has been really hot which is a big key," he said. "I'm seeing the greens well and really making a lot of putts."

With just one top-10 finish in 25 starts worldwide in 2015, McDowell has fallen to 85th in the world golf rankings.

McDowell, whose missed cut at the PGA Championship brought his 2014-15 season to an abrupt end, has fallen from 15th in the world rankings to 85th coming into the week.

The US Tour exemption he earned with his 2010 US Open triumph and 2013 RBC Heritage expires at the end of the 2015-16 season.

McDowell admitted that as his victory drought had lengthened he had sometimes suffered from putting too much pressure on himself to win. But he doesn't feel in danger of that here.

"I've just been out there trying to play golf and enjoy myself," he said. "I feel like I've got enough resources to pull on going into a weekend like this one. The keys are not getting too far ahead of myself and staying in the present."

Leading second-round scores on Friday in the US PGA Tour's OHL Classic at Mayakoba (USA unless noted, par-71):

130 - Graeme McDowell (NIR) 67-63

131 - Derek Fathauer 65-66

132 - Kim Si-Woo (KOR) 68-64, Harold Varner 70-62

133 - Patrick Rodgers 67-66, Jason Bohn 70-63, Justin Leonard 65-68, Shawn Stefani 65-68, Brice Garnett 67-66

134 - Johnson Wagner 67-67, Scott Brown 67-67, Spencer Levin 68-66, Michael Thompson 66-68

135 - Will Wilcox 69-66, Camilo Villegas (COL) 67-68, Russell Knox (SCO) 70-65, Zac Blair 68-67, Jason Kokrak 68-67, Colt Knost 67-68

136 - Jim Herman 69-67, Kevin Streelman 69-67, Henrik Norlander (SWE) 68-68

Read more on:    ohl classic  |  graeme mcdowell  |  golf

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