PGA Tour

McDowell off to flying start

2014-11-06 10:52
Graeme McDowell

Shanghai - Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell gave himself a two-shot cushion ahead of the field after the first round of the WGC-HSBC Champions on Thursday.

Starting on the 10th, the Northern Irishman scorched through his first 12 holes in seven-under par.

Despite two bogeys coming in "G-Mac" was pleased with his opening five-under par 67 at Sheshan which put him two shots clear of six players tied for second on three-under.

"A big key to this golf course is driving the ball well," McDowell told reporters afterwards. "I drove it very well today. I think I missed only one fairway, which is very important. Set up a few opportunities. The greens are in fantastic shape and I putted very well.

"So seven-under par through 12 holes was a beautiful start. Dropped a couple coming in, but all in all, very pleased with five-under par on what I thought was a reasonably tricky day."

McDowell, the 2010 US Open champion, lies 16th on the European Tour's Race to Dubai and needs a high finish in the $8.5 million event here to achieve his goal of getting a shot at a $5 million bonus pool for the top 15 players after the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in a fortnight's time.

The wind switched Thursday and blew harder than on the practice days. With narrow fairways and lush, punishing rough after nearly a week of rain in the city, it all meant that only seven players broke 70 on the par-72, 7,261-yard Sheshan International Golf Club layout.

"This is as tough off the tee as I think I've ever seen this golf course," McDowell added. "If we get three more days of this, I don't think sort of 10-under, 12-under par is going to get beat out there."

One of the sextet in second on three-under par 69 is this year's US Open champion Martin Kaymer.

"I think it's a very good score," said the German world number 13. "So even when I was at one point level par today, but just kept telling myself you will have plenty of birdie chances, so you just need to be patient."

Joining Kaymer on three-under are Americans Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker and Chris Kirk, plus England's Tommy Fleetwood and South Africa's Tim Clark.

"The rough is very rough," said Fowler, who finished in the top five of every major championship in 2014. "I drove the ball well today and hit a lot of fairways. I think I only missed two. That made things a lot easier for me out there. I was able to stay in the short grass today."

Eleven players are a shot further adrift after carding two-under par rounds of 70.

They include world number two Adam Scott of Australia, and the England pair of former world number one Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, who won this tournament two years ago when it played at Mission Hills in Shenzhen.

Leading scores Thursday after the first round of the $8.5 million World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai (par 72):

67 - Graeme McDowell (NIR)

69 - Rickie Fowler (USA), Brandt Snedeker (USA), Chris Kirk (USA), Tim Clark (RSA), Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), Martin Kaymer (GER)

70 - Dawie van der Walt (RSA), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Kim Hyung-Sung (KOR), J B Holmes (USA), Jaco van Zyl (RSA), Lee Westwood (ENG), Ian Poulter (ENG), Adam Scott (AUS), Henrik Stenson (SWE), Bill Haas (USA), Jordan Spieth (USA)

71 - Thongchai Jaidee (THA), Jamie Donaldson (WAL), Kevin Na (USA), Russell Henley (USA), Brendon Todd (USA), Oliver Wilson (ENG), Patrick Reed (USA), Bubba Watson (USA), Jonas Blixt (SWE)

72 - Marcel Siem (GER), Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN), Marc Leishman (AUS), Keegan Bradley (USA), Stephen Gallacher (SCO), Justin Rose (ENG), Thomas Bjorn (DEN), George Coetzee (RSA), Jason Dufner (USA)

Read more on:    pga tour  |  graeme mcdowell  |  golf

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Which is your favourite event on the golfing calendar?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.