McDowell in the mix after taking route 66 in Mexico

Graeme McDowell (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

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Graeme McDowell recovered from a bogey at his third hole to fire six birdies in a five-under par round of 66 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

The Northern Irishman finds himself sharing 10th place heading into Saturday’s second round after the first round started a day late because of heavy rains – more than 9 inches since Monday – that left El Camaleon flooded and forced a washout Thursday.

The second round was scheduled for Saturday, and because of limited daylight in November, the tournament will not end until Monday.

That won’t worry McDowell one bit with the former Champion thriving in a stop-start renewal of the event in 2015 before capturing the title on a Monday on that occasion in Mexico.

However, like every week on the PGA Tour, it won’t be easy for GMac with Danny Lee setting a blistering pace atop the board at nine-under par.

The New Zealander felt like he could make everything Friday, and for the longest time he did.

Already at 10-under par through 13 holes, he started thinking about a sub-60 round when he hit a downhill birdie putt too hard and wound up three-putting for bogey. Four pars later, he had to settle for a 9-under 62 and a one-shot lead.

“Definitely, it was in my head, 59 or 58,” Lee said. “I never shot that score out on the PGA TOUR before, so I really wanted to make that happen. On 14, I had a 3% downhill, less than 15-footer for birdie. Just one of those days I felt like I can make anything. I just gave a little too much extra and hit it through the break and missed the next one coming back.

“I was a little bit bummed out on that one,” he said. “But still, 9 under is a great start.”

Lee had a one-shot lead over Adam Long and Brendon Todd, who resurrected his career two weeks ago with a win in the Bermuda Championship.

The 62 matched his career-best round on the PGA TOUR, a 62 he shot in the third round of the 2015 John Deere Classic.

Full scoring HERE


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