A decision by tournament host Graeme McDowell to change putters on Friday has guaranteed himself a weekend inside the ropes with a fighting bogey-free five-under 67 on day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
McDowell was staring at the weekend off in posting an opening score of a two-over par 74 on the Mount Juliet host course. His first day’s play included two birdies but double the number of bogeys before turning that effort on its tail with a super second round display to move to three-under par and inside the cut-off mark on the number. So, what was the key to McDowell’s great second round?
“I think the putter as I hit it close enough on 10 and 11 where I couldn’t miss, so I got myself off to a nice start,” he said.
“I putted awful yesterday, which really killed any momentum early on because I actually hit the ball quite solidly the first nine holes yesterday.
“The greens were a little smoother this morning. I think these poa annua style greens, they can get a little chewed up in the afternoons, and my confidence with the putter is a little low, anyway, and you know, yesterday I just got off to a terrible start with it late and it continued.
“But I actually had 2-putters with me. I put a fresh one in the bag this morning, and it actually felt much more solid. And with smoother greens, like I say, I was able to knock a couple in and keep the round alive.”
It’s been a very disappointing year for McDowell in contesting 15 events on the 2020/21 PGA Tour wraparound schedule but sitting out the weekend in 10 of those events including four in succession from early March to early April. As well, he’s contested just one of five majors in this ‘different’ PGA Tour schedule and that was last September’s U.S. Open.
“It’s so important, even looking forward to next week, the big key with this game is 65, 66, 67, you feel good about yourself as and move on; there’s always next week,” said McDowell. “But if you’re missing cuts and going home on Friday night, you miss that weekend and you miss the opportunity to build.
“And I think that’s been one of the main problems the last 12 months is the amount of cuts that I’ve missed, which has just killed that ability to create confidence. Because even 50th spot going out on a Sunday and shooting 65, you take something into the following week.
“So, making the weekend here, having the ability to be able to create like a little bit of momentum as I move into a huge week next week, not ruling out the chance of shooting something low tomorrow and having a chance here on Sunday. But like I say, the key to have four rounds”.
- Full scoring HERE