McDowell steadies after shaky start

Graeme McDowell’s overnight lead was shortlived on the second day of the 135th Open championship at Hoylake today.

Graeme McDowell’s overnight lead was shortlived on the second day of the 135th Open championship at Hoylake today.

McDowell’s opening 66, six under par, gave him a one-shot lead over defending champion Tiger Woods, Greg Owen, Anthony Wall, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Keiichiro Fukabori.

But the Ulsterman quickly dropped back into the pack this morning and found himself replaced at the head of the field by Ryder Cup player Jimenez. He has since steadied his play and lies in second place on +1.

There had been no repeat of yesterday’s 30-minute delay due to bad weather, so McDowell was back out on the course at 7.46am alongside American Lucas Glover and Australian Peter Lonard.

The Ulsterman’s opening drive found the rough to the left of the fairway and from there he could only reach a bunker some 30 yards short of the green.

The 26-year-old played a good recovery to 10ft but missed the par putt to drop back to five under par, and 10 minutes later that was only good enough for a share of second place.

Playing in the group behind, Jimenez hit a superb approach to four feet and holed for a birdie three to take the outright lead on six under.

Despite the benign conditions there were still some high numbers being posted by the early starters. Former USPGA champion Rich Beem ran up a double bogey six on the first and fellow American Fred Funk went one better – or worse in fact - with a triple bogey seven after tangling with a greenside bunker and three putting.

The 50-year-old American, who became the oldest winner of the Players Championship in 2005, also bogeyed the second and went from three under and a share of 20th place overnight to one over par in 90th place and outside the projected cut mark.

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