Patient McDowell two off lead

Graeme McDowell emerged from an hour-long fog delay to also end a run of two missed cuts and remain in contention at the French Open on the outskirts of Versailles.

Patient McDowell two off lead

McDowell posted his second straight two-under par 69 to move just two strokes behind Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti (68), who heads the field by a stroke.

Three players – Danish duo Soren Kjeldsen (68) and the in-form Thomas Bjorn (69), along with South African Richard Sterne (69) – are next best on five under.

McDowell arrived in France having missed the halfway cut in successive events, the US Open at Merion and last week’s Irish Open at Carton House.

And with The Open looming large, it is a welcome return to form.

“When you change your technique, you have got to bed it in before you can trust it,” said McDowell.

“It’s been a rough couple of months for me and the key here is to get into contention over the weekend and get my competitive juices flowing again.”

McDowell posted three birdies, at the sixth, 10th and 14th holes, with only bogey, at the eighth.

“I have been controlling the ball well and while I have not got the putter revved up again, it’s all going in the right direction,” he added.

“I have played well, hitting fairways and greens, and the ball has been doing what it is supposed to do.”

Fellow Antrim man Gareth Shaw has taken full advantage of his late call-up into the event posting scores of 72 and 69 for a top-20 position at one-under par.

The 27-year earned a place in the event having finished a superb fifth in last week’s Irish Open however the Belfast golfer was left ruing a 16th hole double bogey.

American Matt Kuchar posted four bogeys without a birdie in a score of 75 to make the cut on three over.

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