| 5.2°C Dublin

McDowell takes the lead in Shanghai

Ryder Cup star Graeme McDowell maintained his brilliant form at Sheshan International to remain in command at the halfway stage of the £5.4milllion WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

McDowell, who won all three of his matches in Europe's victory over the United States in September, carded a second successive 67 to lie 10 under par, three shots ahead of Gleneagles team-mate Ian Poulter.

The 35-year-old Northern Irishman fired five birdies and no bogeys and has now played his last 11 rounds at the venue in 49 under par after finishing third in 2011 and again 12 months ago.

Poulter, who was runner-up to Dustin Johnson last year and won the title when it was staged at Mission Hills in 2012, birdied four of his last five holes to match McDowell's 67.

And double Masters champion Bubba Watson went one better with birdies at all five of the closing stretch in his 67 to finish six under alongside Japan's Hiroshi Iwata, whose 65 was the best score of the week so far.

McDowell won the US Open in 2010 but has yet to win one of the WGC events and told Sky Sports 4: "It would be very special. The WGC's are a special tier of events, there's no doubt about that and this has always been one I had my eye on. This one and Doral (venue for the WGC-Cadillac Championship) are the two golf courses I feel I perform well on.

"But this is a world-class field. They are bunching up behind me and I have to get out there tomorrow and keep the pedal down and position myself for Sunday and give myself a sniff on the back nine."

Asked to explain his remarkable scoring at Sheshan, McDowell added: "I think it's the fact you don't have to hit it a long way, you have to be accurate and I like these greens. I read them well here, this course is always so well presented and I just enjoy playing it.

"I didn't play as well as I did yesterday. I missed a lot more fairways, which is a big key on this golf course. You must find fairways to have a chance out there. I got lucky a couple of times and I made some good saves.

"It wasn't my best ball-striking round but I hung in there."


Privacy