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McDowell in a better place

Three weeks after Rory McIlroy denied Tiger Woods a first PGA Tour win since 2009 Graeme McDowell is hoping to do the same this weekend.

A second-round 63 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill has left the 2010 US Open champion nine under, just one shot off the lead held by Woods and Charlie Wi.

McDowell began with an 80 at the tournament last year, and said on Friday: "I think it was probably this week last year that I kind of hit the panic button, to be honest with you. I realised that something was wrong with the way I was preparing and the way I was thinking. My preparation was just horrific."

He added: "Golf was kind of slipping down the priority list. The rest of the stuff that I was trying to take care of was getting in the way.

"The difference is this year I've paced myself coming into a week like this. I'm mentally and physically fresher than I've been for a long time.

"It's nice to be kind of back under the radar I suppose a little bit. This time last year, I was certainly in the spotlight, having to tell everybody what I was going to do every week.

"That takes a little bit of getting used to for a guy who has never really had to do that before.

"I guess I learned a lot of lessons from my 2011 season. I felt like I did a lot of growing up and I went through a process where I acclimatised to being one of the best players in the world.

"My expectations were way too high. I was expecting to go in every week and shoot 66 every day and you just can't do that.

"I didn't accept my mistakes last year. I didn't accept hitting bad shots. It's all in the old six inches between the ears."


From Belfast Telegraph