McDowell hit by bogey hat-trick
GRAEME McDOWELL would have been forgiven for developing a bunker mentality at Bay Hill yesterday as he stumbled to three bogeys in a row out of greenside traps early in his first round at The Arnold Palmer Invitational.
After following up a birdie at 14, his fifth hole, with that unhappy hat-trick at 15, 16 and 17, he picked up shots on two, four and six, ironically getting up and down out of sand for the latter, as he compiled a dogged one-under 71.
McDowell was five behind his Ryder Cup rival at Valhalla, JB Holmes, who established the early clubhouse lead with a sizzling 66. Henrik Stenson and Mike Weir both shot 67, while recent Doral winner Ernie Els opened with 68.
- EAMON DARCY has been forced out of the Berenberg Bank Masters by a shoulder injury. The Delgany man planned to open his European Seniors campaign at Fancourt, South Africa, today but is under doctor's orders after damaging his rotator cuff in practice.
Darcy will have an anti-inflammatory injected deep into the joint next week but has time to recover. The next Seniors Tour event is in mid-May. Des Smyth, Denis O'Sullivan and Jimmy Heggarty play in Fancourt.
- DUBLINER Niall Kearney was tied 98th after a first-round 74 at The Kenyan Open, nine behind leader Jake Roos of South Africa.