Shanghai - Former major winner Graeme McDowell believes that being the newest member of the European Tour's 'daddy club' has enabled him to re-focus on his game and achieve balance in his life.
The 35-year-old Northern Irishman shot a solid three-under 69 Friday to lie well placed at eight-under par for the tournament, six shots behind leader Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium in the $7 million BMW Masters in Lake Malaren.
McDowell -- known as "G-Mac" -- and wife Kristin had their first child, a little girl named Vale, just over two months ago and he admitted it was a wrench to leave his family at home in Florida to make the long trip to China.
"It was hard to jump on a plane and be away for two weeks because I know when I get back she will have changed," the 2010 US Open champion told AFP.
But he added that becoming a father had made him re-assess his own outlook on life - for the better.
"I'm in such a good place in my personal life that it allows me to re-focus on my golf. The balance I have now gives me the chance to re-dedicate myself to golf," McDowell said.
"There's a tangible responsibility. When a baby arrives a switch goes off in your head. You know that you're forever going to be responsible for something.
"If there's any more growing up to be done, that's the second in your life you've got to do it."
Daughter Vale will not be short of childhood company at the exclusive Lake Nona estate where the McDowells reside in Orlando. - 'Special time' -
The area has become the European Tour's baby boomer centre as the McDowells' neighbours include Ian Poulter who has four children, Justin Rose and Peter Hanson who both have two and Henrik Stenson who welcomed his third, baby Alice, into the world last Sunday.
"These are special times for all of us who live in the community at Lake Nona," McDowell added.
"Ian's got kids, Henrik's family's blooming and my family's blooming and Justin's and, yeah, it's cool. It's a lot of fun to be part of."
Stenson has skipped this week on 'paternity leave' and McDowell was fully behind his Swedish Ryder Cup teammate's decision to stay home.
"I envy Henrik. It's a special time in your life. I'm sure Henrik's enjoying that first week of sleepless nights.
"But it's important. It's a long career out here and you don't get a lot of opportunities to be with your children, especially at a time like that."
The biggest name missing from Shanghai is world number one Rory McIlroy, McDowell's fellow Northern Irishman.
McIlroy has taken time out to prepare for a multi-million dollar lawsuit with his, and McDowell's, former management company.
But it was clear the wrangle, which could see both of their names dragged through a Dublin court next year, has not affected the admiration McDowell feels for the man 10 years his junior who has won two majors this year.
"You look at Rory's year and you can't do anything but respect how great he is," McDowell said.
"And how good he is for the game of golf."Leading scores on Friday after the second round of the European Tour's $7 million BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai (par 72):
130 - Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 66-64
131 - Alexander Levy (FRA) 65-66
133 - Romain Wattel (FRA) 66-67
134 - Marcel Siem (GER) 68-66, Branden Grace (RSA) 68-66, Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 66-68
135 - Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 68-67
136 - Shane Lowry (IRL) 70-66, Graeme McDowell (NIR) 67-69, Jamie Donaldson (WAL) 68-68, Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 70-66
137 - Ross Fisher (ENG) 70-67, Ryan Palmer (USA) 70-67, Darren Fichardt (RSA) 69-68, Ernie Els (RSA) 69-68, Justin Rose (ENG) 72-65
138 - George Coetzee (RSA) 71-67, Michael Hoey (NIR) 70-68, Ouyang Zheng (CHN) 72-66, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 70-68, Richie Ramsay (SCO) 70-68, Richard Sterne (RSA) 68-70
140 - Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 70-70