Graeme McDowell was delighted he sorted out a putting glitch to take ‘Route 66’ on the second day of the Aberdeen Standard Investment Scottish Open at Gullane.
McDowell recorded just 26 putts to move just inside the top-40 with a five-under par tally and be trailing eight shots behind England’s Robert Rock (63) who heads the field on 13-under par.
Defending Gullane champion, Rickie Fowler posted the same score as McDowell to be well-placed at 10-under.
McDowell spent plenty of time on the practice putting green following Thursday’s one-under par 69 and it paid dividends as ‘GMac’ digs deep to try clinch one of three spots into next week’s Open.
With two rounds to play there is some 15 players ahead of McDowell also vying for a Carnoustie tee time all chasing the top 10 needed.
McDowell capped his round chipping-in for an eagle ‘3’ at the par-5 second and this after taking birdie at the first while he also birdied 10 and 11 ahead of seven closing pars.
“It was ‘Route 66’ today and it was a good day’s work while I putted a little better”, he said.
“I did some work on my putting yesterday afternoon and I found a little something that has been bugging me for a couple of months.
“As a result, my pace on the greens was good while the game is in good shape but I do need to make a big run on the weekend if I need to get to where I want to be, and that’s to Carnoustie next week.
“This then was an important cut to make as the weather is suppose to turn and anybody who is in five, six or seven from the lead and with two rounds to go can mount a charge.
“So, it was a good cut to make and it’s given me the chance now to make a wee charge on the weekend.”
The cut-off mark fell at four under making McDowell the only Irishman to make the weekend.
Paul Dunne along with The Open winning duo of Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington will now head to Carnoustie early after missing the Gullane cut.
Dunne ended his round at lunch time to be greeted by his girlfriend he said he hadn’t see for a ‘few’ weeks but with the Greystones golfer glued to the Tour’s scoring website to ascertain if he’d done enough to play all four rounds.
Dunne’s second day was a mix of four birdies and also four bogey which left the Greystones man on -3 eventually missing out on the weekend by just a single shot.
“I just played terrible on the front nine and it just came from nowhere”, Dunne said.
“It was just sloppy stuff and I wasn’t really concentrating, and then found myself one-over through seven holes and given the front nine is so easy.
“I was just chasing it from there and it was nice to birdie 17 as that gave me a chance to make the cut and play the last two days before heading to Carnoustie.
Despite missing the cut, Dunne is still confident ahead of teeing it up in his fourth Open Championship next week.
“The game feels really good and while I have had a lot of golf of late, and I do feel a little tired, it was just one of those days and I am not going to lose any sleep”.
Darren Clarke had raced to four-under through six holes to be three-under par in total before the inward nine jumped-up to bit the Ulsterman to bogey three of his closing six holes in a score of 69 for a level par total.
Harrington returns to the venue of his maiden Major Championship success managing just three birdies over his two Gullane rounds for scores of 73 and 71,
Joining the Irish trio with the weekend off was Phil Mickelson who will head to Carnoustie early after scores of 70 and 69.