Tuesday 23 January 2018

McDowell edges ahead at Valderramma

Graeme McDowell has eased into the lead. Photo: Getty Images
Graeme McDowell has eased into the lead. Photo: Getty Images

Graeme McDowell took advantage of an ugly front nine from overnight leader Pablo Larrazabal to edge into pole position at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters.

The Spaniard was flawless as he carded an impressive 66 yesterday but hit trouble early in his second round with a double bogey on the par-three third.

Further dropped shots on the seventh and ninth saw him fall to four over for his round, before a birdie at the 11th saw him recover slightly to sit in a share of fourth midway through his second round - two under overall.

That allowed man of the moment McDowell to ease into the lead.

The US Open champion and Ryder Cup winner birdied the first and parred through to the fourth, leaving him one under for his round and four under overall.

That gave him a one-stroke cushion from fellow Northern Irishman Gareth Maybin, one under through eight, and Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen, two under through 12.

Ryder Cup stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Francesco Molinari were among those alongside Larrazabal on two under for the tournament, while their vice-captain at Celtic Manor, Sergio Garcia, slipped to one over thanks in part to a double bogey at the fifth.

Attempting to claim the world number one spot, Martin Kaymer cancelled out yesterday's struggles as he moved level overall.

The German needs to win or share second place with no more than one other player if he, rather than the absent Lee Westwood, is to succeed Tiger Woods in top spot when the American's 281-week occupancy ends on Monday.

He was one over yesterday but a birdie at the fourth put him four strokes off the lead.

Press Association

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