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Saturday 10 December 2016

Graeme McDowell struggles in bid to win hat-trick of France Open titles

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland plays his second shot on the 1st fairway during Alstom Open de France
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland plays his second shot on the 1st fairway during Alstom Open de France

Graeme McDowell's bid for a third successive Alstom Open de France title suffered two early blows when the weather-delayed tournament resumed at Le Golf National.

McDowell was one of 42 players unable to complete their opening rounds on schedule on Thursday after two early morning thunderstorms resulted in a delay of almost two and a half hours.

The former US Open champion had just one hole remaining when play resumed at 0730 local time on Friday and made par on the 18th to complete an opening 72 and lie just four shots off the lead shared by Bernd Wiesberger, Victor Dubuisson, Jaco Van Zyl and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

However, after a short break McDowell was back out on the course which will stage the 2018 Ryder Cup and, after starting from the 10th with three pars, ran up a double-bogey six on the 13th.

Another dropped shot on the 15th left McDowell four over par and two shots outside the projected cut, albeit only seven off the lead.

Van Zyl and Cabrera-Bello remained three under par after nine and five holes of their second rounds respectively and were joined at the top of the leaderboard by Germany's Max Kieffer.

Kieffer, who was four under par with four holes remaining on Thursday evening but bogeyed the 17th and double-bogeyed the 18th, had bounced back from that poor finish to birdie the 12th and 13th.

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