Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

McDowell fails to get into swing of things

Graeme McDowell's observation that the set-up at Carnoustie was too easy predictably, came back to haunt him as he carded a nightmare opening 77.

It was a huge comedown for the Ulsterman who at this stage of the Open last year, led the tournament by a shot at Hoylake.



He came into the Championship on the back of being in contention at the European Open at the K Club and then again last week at the Barclay's Scottish Open.



And he was bullish about his chances here, saying earlier in the week that the rough wasn't thick enough and that he would have preferred to see driving made tougher for the field.



"It was a nightmare round and I just couldn't get anything going," he said.



"I had technical issues with my swing the whole way round and I haven't hit it as badly as that in months.



"I don't know why that happened, but it is really disappointing and frustrating."



McDowell was hoping to get his name back on the first day leaderboard again with Paul McGinley's four under round of 67 the target when he teed off just after lunch.



He did drop a shot when he found trouble he couldn't escape from on the second but picked that shot back up with a good approach shot in on the fourth to go back to level par.



His troubles really began on the par five sixth hole when he went out of bounds from the tee and that led to a double-bogey seven.



Another shot disappeared at the next as he struggled to get anything going.



He bogied 12, and the difficult 15th and 16th holes but did manage to put in a good finish with a good par four at the last.



But he was far from happy as he strode from the course and didn't have much to say after a round which has all but blown his chances.



He will need to shoot significantly under par today if he is to make the cut and he doesn't appear to be in the frame of mind to manage it.

Meanwhile, world number four Ernie Els vowed to work on his iron play after being disappointed with his one-over-par 72.

The South African bogeyed his last two holes - his third and fourth dropped shots of the day - to fall off the first page of the leaderboard.

"I didn't have a great rhythm on my iron shots a lot and that held me back because I felt the course was out there to really make a good score," said the 37-year-old.

"I have to get my iron shots more on target and take it from there because I'm really striking my putts well and I hit a lot of good putts that didn't go. But I will go work on my iron shots.

"It wasn't a great finish but it (his score) is what it is. I actually thought the course was quite easy so I'm a little bit disappointed with my score as I felt I could shoot under par today.

"I haven't shot myself out of it but I need to pick up the pace. I have an early time tomorrow; hopefully it (the weather) is half-decent - not like this morning.

"I need to get going and start getting myself into the tournament."

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