Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

McDowell Euro title bid fades

Graeme McDowell

Mental fatigue appeared to take its toll on Graeme McDowell again as his bid to be Europe's number one suffered another setback on Friday.

From needing "a big weekend" after a level par opening 72 at the Dubai World Championship the Northern Irishman now needs a huge one after adding only a 73.

Only a top three finish will give McDowell a chance of overtaking Martin Kaymer in the last week of the year-long race, but he was down in 44th place as he spoke afterwards.

And to make matters worse Kaymer was in a tie for fifth on six under after nine holes of his second round, just two behind new leaders Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher.

"I was just very quick to lose patience with myself," said McDowell, who after climbing from 25th to sixth spot with three birdies in the first seven holes bogeyed four of the next seven.

Kaymer is odds-on therefore to take the money list crown, but becoming world number one looks a whole lot tougher.

Westwood is the man ahead of him there and this week's defending champion birdied the first three holes, turned in 32 and then started for home with another birdie to catch Fisher.

Ian Poulter was playing with Westwood and he birdied the first four holes to share top spot with overnight pacesetter Robert Karlsson. But Poulter had to settle for pars on the next eight and he and Karlsson were a stroke behind.

When Fisher pitched to six feet on the par-five last and made it he had equalled Westwood's year-old course record.

He also moved into a one-shot lead over his countryman at nine under, with Poulter alone in third at seven under after Karlsson bogeyed the 10th, and Kaymer now lying joint fourth.

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