McDowell makes into Mexico Open weekend mix

Bernie McGuire

Graeme McDowell plays a shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Mexico Open at Vidanta (Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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I’m quoting a really old golf saying in stating Graeme McDowell’s second round of the Mexico Open at Vidanta was a round of two halves.

McDowell headed into the second day at the Pacific Ocean resort of Vallarta following a no-frills opening one-under-par 70 and, in starting day two from the 10th tee, he was back-pedalling with bogeys at 12, 14 and the par-5 16th to slump to three-over for his round.

However, McDowell got off the bogey train and for a second day running birdied the first hole on the scorecard in hitting a 129-yard wedge shot to just three-feet for birdie, a copy of what he had done at the first a day earlier.

GMac then holed a six-footer for birdie at the second and then got back to level par for his round when he sent a slightly downhill 30-footer to the bottom of the cup at the par-4 fourth hole.

McDowell was in the right rough off the tee at the par-5 sixth ahead of landing his second some 65-yards shy of the flag before playing a super wedge shot to three feet and holing the birdie.

GMac parred his remaining three holes to go from three-over through eight holes to post a one-under 70 for a second straight day.

He walked from the course as the afternoon half of the field was beginning to tee-up, sharing 61st place and right on the two-under cut-off mark.  At day’s end McDowell was assured of contesting the weekend rounds in sharing 58th and just inside the cut line.

It is only a seventh occasion in 15 events on the 2021/22 wraparound season that McDowell has assured himself a weekend pay cheque.

In contrast, World No  2 Jon Rahm stamped his authority posting s five-under  66 in the windy conditions to lead by two shots at 12-under as the reigning US Open champion seeks a first win since last year’s breakthrough maiden major win.

The six-time PGA Tour winner leads  from American  Alex Smalley (66) at 10-under, with a long list that includes Patrick Reed (66), Adam Long (66), Andrew Novak (67), Cameron Champ (66), Trey Mullinax (69) and Brandon Hagy (67) all three shots adrift of Rahm on 9-under par.

Rahm birdied all four of the par 5s, including the 18th hole with a 4-iron from light rough to just short of the green, a pitch to 6 feet and one last putt.

“I feel like I might be a little bit more satisfied with today’s score than yesterday,” Rahm said.

“Yesterday I felt like I was really under control and relatively speaking stress free. Today was a bit more of a grind, but still a really good round of golf.”

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