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Wednesday 15 August 2018

G-Mac on Tiger's tail

GRAEME McDowell shot 63 but Tiger Woods is the man to catch in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

After McDowell had joined Jason Dufner on nine-under-par by equalling his lowest-ever round in America, Woods seized the clubhouse lead one shot in front of them on 10-under-par by adding a 65 to his opening 69.

Winner of the title six times, the former world number one is looking for his first PGA Tour victory for more than two and a half years this weekend -- and this only a fortnight after he pulled out of the Cadillac Championship with an ankle injury.

McDowell continued an amazing month for European golfers in Florida with his second round 63.

The Portrush native has seen compatriot Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Luke Donald win the last three PGA Tour events -- and from six off the pace after his opening 72. McDowell has fond memories of the event, finishing second back in 2005, and his round matched his lowest-ever score in the United States.

McDowell said: "I got off to quite a slow start actually with the putter and then kind of got going a little bit.

"Shooting 63 on a golf course like this is always a lot of fun and this is always an event that I like to put in my schedule.

"Mr Palmer is our host and it always has that special feel to it.

"I'm playing the next three weeks now and I'm mentally and physically fresher than I've been for a long time. It's nice to be kind of back under the radar, I suppose, a little bit.

"This time last year, I was certainly in the limelight and that takes a little bit of getting used to for a guy who has never really had to do that before.

"You have to get back into the state of mind that I was in in 2010," he added.

"I wish you could bottle up the way you feel when golf is easy because when golf is difficult, it's very difficult.

"I guess I learned a lot of lessons from my 2011 season.

"I felt like I did a lot of growing up and I went through a process where I acclimatised to being one of the best players in the world -- and it was a difficult process."

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