Siem leads in Killarney

Marcel Siem led the Irish Open going into today's third round in Killarney - and that brought back a happy memory for Graeme McDowell.

Marcel Siem led the Irish Open going into today's third round in Killarney - and that brought back a happy memory for Graeme McDowell.

At last season's Wales Open the German leads by three with 18 holes to play, but while he closed with a 74 and dropped to seventh, McDowell shot 63 and won by three.

Two weeks later the Ulsterman became US Open champion as well and the best season of his life continued when he was Europe's winning hero at the Ryder Cup and then beat Tiger Woods head to head in California.

So far 2011 has not hit any of the same heights and McDowell, like current US Open champion Rory McIlroy, has his work cut out this weekend after resuming six strokes off the pace.

Siem, one in front of Dane Soren Hansen and Indian Jeev Milka Singh overnight after back-to-back rounds of 66, had an extra reason for wanting to build on his start.

Five years ago he partnered Bernhard Langer to World Cup success in Barbados, but he has not yet had the chance to try for a repeat.

"I have to finish really, really good here to get above Alex Cejka on the world rankings and then maybe I'll partner Martin Kaymer later this year," said the 31-year-old ponytailed golfer.

"But there's two rounds to go here - it's just half-time and I just want to stay calm and see what happens."

Staying calm has not always been his strong suit.

Siem's only European Tour victory was in South Africa seven seasons ago, but Hansen and Singh have had lean spells too.

Singh has suffered shoulder and back injuries since his last win in 2008, while Hansen, part of Europe's side at Valhalla that same season, has to go back to 2007 for his last title.

With Open champion Darren Clarke and three-Major winner Padraig Harrington both missing the cut, McDowell and McIlroy are likely to carry huge crowds with them as they strive to climb into contention from 25th place.

But four other Irish players - Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane, Michael Hoey and amateur Paul Cutler - were at six-under and joint 11th going into the last 36 holes.

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