McDowell struggled not only with the driver but also the shortest club in his bag, posting scores of 72 and 78 for a shock seven over par tally in continuing heatwave conditions on the Le National course on the outskirts of Versailles.
It is only a third occasion in his 10 European Tour victories McDowell has not played all four rounds in the defence of a Tour title.
The trio of former winner Martin Kaymer (69), Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello (70) and local hero Victor Dubuisson (70), competing for a first time in France since last year’s Ryder Cup, share first place on just four under par in sauna-like conditions on the 2018 Ryder Cup host venue.
Damien McGrane finds himself the leading Irishman posting a 70 to be at one over par and with Michael Hoey (73) at three over par the only Irish to make the fut in the Euro 3m event.
McDowell and his family are leaving Paris this morning bound for Edinburgh and Thursday’s starting Scottish Open at Gullane that neighbours Muirfield just to the east of the Scottish capital.
However the current World No. 48th ranked McDowell will tee-up sure to be outside the elite world’s top-50 for a first time since May 2010 when he dropped to No. 51st in the world with a share of 26th place in the Players Championship.
“It’s very disappointing and I just struggled to get it on the fairways these two days and it’s tough out there as that was reflected in the scoring with not many guys going any lower than three or four under par,” he said.
“I am aware my season is not going the way I want it to go and just need a couple of good weeks, and I don’t care what those weeks are but there is a lot of technique in my mind and I have to strip that out and get back to basics.”
That will mean McDowell spending time next week with long-time coach, Peter Cowen after also admitting he’s been “by myself” in recent weeks.
“I am working with probably one of the best coaches in the world in Pete Cowen and I probably know a little bit too much, and it’s very hard to un-know something,” said McDowell.
“It means stripping all the technical stuff out of my mind and get back to basics, and also catch-up with Pete as I have been chiselling away by myself the last few weeks.
“So I’m off to Scotland tomorrow for an early practice round at Gullane and it’s not as though any alarm bells are ringing because I want to stress they’re not.”
McDowell averaged 7.5 of the 28 fairways and 30.5 putts for the two rounds.